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Published  1915. 


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Introduction  by  T.  K 9 

Preface  by  the  Translator 15 

Description  of  Jesus 23 

Death- Warrant  of  Jesus 27 


Letter  from  an  **Esseer''  in  Jerusa- 
lem to  his  Brethren  in  Alexandria.  31 

Closing  Eemarks  of  the  German  Trans- 
lator   129 

PAET  n. 

The  Order  of  the  Essees  among  the 
Jewish  People 151 


A  brief  explanation  is  due  the  reader 
before  he  proceeds  to  a  perusal  of  the  most 
interesting  Letter  which  follows  the 
Preface  to  this  little  volume. 

The  English  translation  of  the  ancient 
Latin  copy  of  the  Letter  was  made  by  a 
German.  It  is  evidenced  on  every  page  of 
his  translation  that  he  was  not  sufficiently 
acquainted  with  the  English  language  to 
make  a  good  English  translation. 

This  suggestion  has  reference  to  the 
literary  form  of  his  work  as  a  translator, 
and  not  to  the  substance  of  the  text.  There 
can  be  no  doubt  that  he  has  preserved  the 
meaning  of  the  original  manuscript  with 
remarkable  fidelity. 

But  in  many  places  he  has  made  use  of 
English  expressions  which  are  crude  and 
quite   out   of  keeping   with   our  present 
understanding  of  cultured  literary  form. 

12  The  Crucifixion 

For  this  reason  I  have  deemed  it  advis- 
able to  revise  his  rendition  of  the  text  in 
such  manner  as  somewhat  to  remove  the 
rough  corners  of  his  work,  and  present  to 
the  reader  the  exact  substance  of  the  An- 
cient Letter  in  a  little  better  English  form. 

In  no  sense  have  I  changed  its  meaning, 
and  in  many  places  have  refrained  from 
substituting  my  own  method  of  expression 
where  his  rendition  is  more  or  less  crude 
and  lacking  in  elegance  of  diction.  My  re- 
vision of  his  translation,  therefore,  is  not 
as  complete  as  it  might  have  been  made  had 
his  method  of  expression  been  discarded 

My  purpose  has  been  to  place  the  exact 
substance  of  the  Ancient  Letter  before  the 
reader  in  such  language  as  to  make  it  en- 
tirely intelligible,  and  at  the  same  time 
preserve  as  much  of  the  translator's  own 
form  of  expression  as  possible.  I  believe  I 
have  succeeded. 

No  changes  whatsoever  have  been  made 
in  the  **  Closing  Remarks  of  the  German 

Introduction  13 

Translator/'  nor  in  **Part  11."  My  revi- 
sion, therefore,  is  confined  entirely  to  the 
** Letter''  of  the  Esseer  in  which  he  tells 
his  brethren  in  Alexandria  the  true  story 
of  the  Crucifixion,  and  gives  them  the  facts 
and  incidents  connected  therewith,  as  he 
witnessed  them. 

The  following  additional  facts  concern- 
ing the  German  translation  may  be  of  in- 
terest to  the  reader  in  this  connection : 

It  was  published  in  this  country  in  1873. 
For  reasons  which  the  intelligent  reader 
will  doubtless  understand  as  he  proceeds, 
the  book  was  withdrawn  from  publication 
at  once  upon  its  appearance.  The  plates 
were  destroyed,  and  it  was  supposed  that 
all  the  published  copies  of  the  book  were 
likewise  disposed  of. 

Fortunately,  however,  one  copy  found  its 
way  into  the  possession  of  a  prominent 
Mason  in  the  state  of  Massachusetts.  There 
it  remained  securely  until  accidentally  dis- 
covered by  his  daughter  some  time  during 
the  early  summer  of  the  present  year 

14  The  Crucifixion 

This  lady,  knowing  my  interest  in  things 
Masonic,  kindly  sent  me  the  copy  for  ex- 
amination. I  at  once  recognized  its  remark- 
able nature  and  supreme  value  and 

Immediately  was  started*  an  inquiry 
through  a  number  of  the  most  prominent 
book  houses  and  publishing  concerns,  to 
ascertain  if  other  copies  of  the  little  book 
could  be  found.  At  the  same  time  inquiry 
was  made  to  ascertain  if  the  official  copies 
of  the  book  were  still  on  file  in  the  Con- 
gressional Library. 

To  my  surprise,  not  another  copy  of  the 
book  can  be  found,  after  some  four  months 
of  diligent  search. 

The  most  remarkable  phase  of  the  mat- 
ter seems  to  be,  that  the  official  copies  which 
were  deposited  with  the  Librarian  of  Con- 
gress, in  compliance  with  the  Law  of  Copy- 
rights, have  also  disappeared  At  any 
rate,  in  reply  to  inquiry,  the  report  comes 
back  that  no  such  book  is  to  be  found  in 
the  Congressional  Library. 

Introduction  15 

If  this  be  true,  it  would  then  appear  that 
the  copy  from  which  the  following  revision 
was  made  is,  without  doubt,  the  only  copy 
in  existence. 

To  be  sure,  the  Latin  MS.,  from  which 
the  translation  into  English  was  made,  is 
still  in  existence,  and  is  in  the  hands  of 
the  Masonic  Fraternity  in  Germany,  where, 
no  doubt,  it  will  remain  securely  guarded 
from  Anti-Masonic  vandalism. 

The  vital  nature  of  the  document  cannot 
fail  to  impress  itself  upon  the  intelligent 
reader  and  student  of  religious  history. 
And  it  is  sincerely  to  be  hoped  that  it  will 
not  suffer  another  eclipse. 

TK,  Author  of  '^ The  Great  Work." 

Chicago,  November,  1907. 

L   r^  r 


A  member  of  the  Abyssinian  Mercantile 
Company  discovered  in  Alexandria  an 
ancient  house,  formerly  occupied  by  Gre- 
cian friars,  in  whose  library — to  oblivion 
abandoned — ^was  found  an  old  parchment. 
A  French  literate,  accidentally  present,  at 
once  commenced  deciphering  it:  but  a  mis- 
sionary, in  the  ardor  of  fanatical  ortho- 
doxy, tried  by  all  means  to  destroy  the 
antique  document.  But  the  efforts  of  the 
Jesuit  missionary  do  not  seem  to  have  been 
successful,  as  a  copy  of  the  Latin  original 
was  written,  which  copy,  through  the  Free- 
masons, found  its  way  into  Germany. 

It  has  been  proved  from  the  archeologi- 
cal  discoveries  made  on  the  spot,  that  the 
house  where  the  parchment  was  found  was 
owned  and  occupied  by  the  Order  of 
'^Esseens."  Further,  that  the  document 
found  was  the  only  remains  of  literature 

18  The  Crucifixion 

from  the  once  well-filled  library  of  this 
scientific  and  religious  Order  or  Brother- 

The  French  literate,  who  first  conceived 
the  importance  and  historical  worth  of  the 
manuscript,  tried  hard  to  enrich  the  French 
Academy  with  the  original,  but,  owing  to 
the  intrigues  of  the  Jesuit  mission  in  Egypt 
(bent  on  destroying  a  document  so  detri- 
mental to  their  doctrine),  he  was  not  suc- 
cessful; although  it  was  preserved  princi- 
pally through  the  interference  of  influen- 
tial Abyssinian  merchants  and  Pythagori- 
cal  Societies,  from  whom  the  copy  above 
spoken  of  came  into  the  possession  of  the 
modern  institution  of  Freemasons,  and  a 
society  in  Germany  now  possesses,  without 
doubt,  the  only  copy  in  existence. 

As  regards  the  discovered  antique  docu- 
ment, it  consisted  of  a  letter  which  the 
so-called  '^Terapeut'*  (the  elder),  the  high- 
est esteemed  member  of  the  Brotherhood, 
had  written  to  his  brethren  in  Alexandria, 
in  the  name  of  the  Brotherhood  in  Jeru- 

Preface  19 

salem.  This  letter  was  written  by  him  only 
a  few  years  after  the  death  of  Jesus,  giving 
a  full  description  of  the  life,  doctrine  and 
death  of  Jesus,  who  the  letter  proves  to 
have  belonged  to  and  been  a  member  of 
their  Brotherhood. 

Eumors  of  his  miracles,  and  finally  of  his 
martyrdom,  had  also  reached  Alexandria, 
and  as  the  brethren  there  had  a  conviction 
that  he  was  their  brother,  preached  their 
doctrines,  used  their  sign  of  recognition, 
and  lived  in  accordance  with  their  rules, 
they  manifested  a  desire  to  be  informed  on 
the  subject,  as  to  the  real  truth  of  the 

To  obtain  this  information,  their  leader, 
or  **Terapeut,"  had  written  a  letter  to  his 
colleague  in  Jerusalem,  who  in  reply  wrote 
the  letter  from  which  we  obtain  a  clear  and 
truthful  account  of  this  important  and  in- 
teresting subject.  It  is  a  fact,  which  never 
has  been  doubted  by  those  familiar  with 
ancient  history,  that  the  Esseers  always 
spoke  and  wrote  the  strictest  truth;  and 

20  The  Crucifixion 

this,  added  to  their  moral  and  scientific 
lives,  puts  an  end  to  any  doubt  as  to  the 
correctness  and  genuineness  of  the  infor- 
mation given  in  the  ancient  discovered 

Although  not  at  first  organized  among 
the  Jews,  this  Order  existed  already  in  the 
days  of  the  '*Maccabai";  and  with  them  it 
assumed  more  of  a  national  outward  form, 
at  the  same  time  maintaining  most  of  the 
ancient  pythagoraeical  doctrines.  Most  of 
the  members  were  agriculturists  and  gar- 
deners, and  assembled  together  to  promote 
virtue  and  wisdom  among  themselves.  Fur- 
thermore, they  devoted  themselves,  espe- 
cially in  the  higher  degrees,  to  the  art  of 
healing,  induced  thereto  through  their 
studies  of  nature  and  art,  and  were  well 
acquainted  with  the  effects  of  most  then 
known  plants  and  minerals  for  recruiting 
the  human  system.  This  knowledge  they 
made  useful  by  healing  and  comforting  the 

They  were  true  communists,  and  all  put 

Preface  21 

their  gains  into  the  common  treasury.  Be- 
fore sunrise  they  never  spoke  to  each  other 
of  earthly  matters,  but  met  in  prayer  at 
break  of  day.  Having  taken  their  morning 
meal  and  put  on  a  peculiar  kind  of  work- 
ing clothes,  they  proceeded  to  their  place 
of  work.  At  noon  they  again  came  to- 
gether, and,  having  washed  their  hands  and 
feet  and  dressed  themselves  in  clean  white 
robes,  they  ate  their  dinner  together. 

According  to  their  moral  standing  and 
ability,  they  were  divided  into  four  classes 
or  degrees.  In  the  first  degree  were  espe- 
cially adopted  children  (the  **Esseens^' 
hardly  ever  married),  but  in  case  an  adult 
wished  to  be  admitted  into  their  Order,  it 
was  necessary  to  go  through  a  very  severe 
moral  trial  for  the  term  of  three  years. 

It  was  strictly  prohibited  for  a  member 
of  high  degree  to  divulge  any  of  the  secrets 
of  his  degree  to  any  of  lower  rank. 

The  punishment  for  such  a  trespass  was 
expulsion  from  the  Brotherhood.  Nothing 
but  a  strictly  moral  life,  wisdom,  godliness. 

22  The  Crucifixion 

and  excellency  in  science,  entitled  to  the 
higher  degrees.  In  their  domestic  life  they 
exercised  hospitality  and  benevolence,  kept 
the  rules  of  the  Order  strictly,  and  never 
took  any  interest  or  part  in  politics  or  revo- 
lutions. Thus  they  showed  a  thoroughly 
peaceable  disposition. 

Their  greeting  and  sign  of  recognition 
was,  *  *  Peace  be  with  you. ' '  At  their  meals 
they  broke  the  bread  and  passed  the  cup, 
and  worshipped  ** Jehovah'';  but  never 
made  any  sacrifice  in  the  temple,  but  per- 
formed their  ceremonies  in  their  homes. 
They  knew  no  higher  virtue  than  to  suffer 
and  die  for  their  belief.  Accordingly,  death 
did  not  terrify  them,  as  they  believed  the 
spirit  a  prisoner  in  the  body,  to  be  released 
through  death,  then  to  return  to  the  celes- 
tial glory.  Deceit  and  profanity  were  con- 
sidered grave  sins  (as  well  as  quarreling 
and  vengeance),  and  looked  upon  with 

This  Order,  of  which  the  present  Free- 
masonry is  the  modem  issue,  was  at  the 

Preface  23 

time  of  Jesus  widely  diffused  through  Pal- 
estine and  Egypt,  and  had  their  colonies 
scattered  all  over  the  country.  They  always 
kept  up  a  congenial  fraternal  feeling  in 
their  meetings,  and  gave  each  other  infor- 
mation about  the  affairs  of  the  Brother- 
hood. They  counted  among  their  members 
men  of  all  professions  and  stations  in 
society,  and  although  comprising  a  great 
many  learned  men  and  rich  persons  (who 
sometimes  found  it  in  their  interest  to  keep 
this  secret),  they  never  excluded  the  poor 
nor  persons  in  moderate  circumstances. 

Thus  we  have  all  reasons  to  credit  this 
letter,  dictated  by  the  love  of  truth,  and 
written  by  a  man  who  had  been  an  eye- 
witness to  most  of  the  important  transac- 
tions in  the  life  and  death  of  Jesus,  who, 
as  a  member  of  their  Order,  was  embraced 
by  them  with  all  the  fraternal  devotion  of 
the  Order.  The  Translator. 





A  man  of  noble  stature  and  of  very 
beautiful  countenance,  in  which  such 
majesty  resides  that  those  who  look  on 
him  are  forced  to  admire  him. 

His  hair  is  of  the  color  of  a  fully  ripe 
chestnut,  and  from  his  ear  down  his  shoul- 
ders it  is  of  the  color  of  the  earth,  but 
shining.  It  is  parted  in  the  middle  of  his 
forehead,  after  the  maimer  of  the  Naza- 

His  forehead  is  smooth  and  very  serene, 
his  face  free  from  wrinkle  and  spot,  and 
with  a  slight  color. 

The  nostrils  and  lips  cannot  reasonably 
be  found  fault  with. 


26  The  Crucifixion 

The  beard  is  thick,  and,  like  the  hair,  not 
very  long,  and  divided  in  the  middle. 

There  is  a  look  of  terror  in  his  grave 
eyes.  The  eyes  are  like  the  rays  of  the 
sun,  and  it  is  impossible  to  look  him  stead- 
ily in  the  face  on  account  of  their  brilliancy. 

When  he  reproves,  he  terrifies ;  when  he 
admonishes,  he  weeps.  He  makes  himself 
loved,  and  is  gravely  cheerful.  It  is  said 
that  he  was  never  seen  to  laugh,  but  he  was 
seen  to  weep. 

His  hands  and  arms  are  very  beautiful. 

In  conversation  he  is  charming,  but  he 
seldom  engages  in  it;  and  when  he  does 
converse,  he  is  very  modest  of  countenance. 

In  presence  he  is  the  most  beautiful  man 
that  could  be  seen  or  imagined;  just  like 
his  mother,  who  is  the  most  beautiful  young 
person  that  was  ever  beheld  in  these  parts. 

In  learning  he  is  an  object  of  wonder  to 
the  entire  city  of  Jerusalem.  He  never 
studied  at  all,  and  yet  he  knows  all  sciences. 

Description  of  Jesus  27 

He  wears  sandals,  and  goes  bareheaded. 
Many  laugh  at  seeing  him ;  but  in  his  pres- 
ence, and  when  speaking  to  him,  they  fear 
and  tremble. 

It  is  said  that  such  a  man  was  never 
seen  or  heard  in  these  parts.  In  truth,  as 
the  Hebrews  tell  me,  there  never  were 
heard  such  advices,  such  sublime  doctrine 
as  this  Christ  teaches;  and  many  of  the 
Jews  hold  him  for  divine,  and  they  believe 
in  him,  while  many  others  accuse  him  to  me 
as  being  contrary  to  thy  majesty. 

It  is  acknowledged  that  he  has  never 
done  harm  to  any  one,  but  good.  All  that 
know  him  and  have  had  dealings  with  him, 
say  that  they  have  received  from  him  bene- 
fits and  health. 

The  foregoing  description  is  condensed 
from  a  letter  written  by  Publius  Lentulus, 
then  Governor  of  Judea,  to  Tiberius  CaBsar, 
Emperor  of  the  Eomans. 







In  the  year  seventeen  of  the  Emperor 
Tiberius  Caesar,  and  the  27th  day  of  March, 
in  the  city  of  the  holy  Jerusalem — Annas 
and  Caiaphas  being  priests,  sacrificators  of 
the  people  of  God — Pontius  Pilate,  Gov- 
ernor of  Lower  Galilee,  sitting  in  the  presi- 
dential chair  of  the  praetory,  condemns 
Jesus  of  Nazareth  to  die  on  the  Cross  be- 
tween two  thieves,  the  great  and  notorious 
evidence  of  the  people  saying : 

1.  Jesus  is  a  seducer. 

2.  He  is  seditious. 

3.  He  is  the  enemy  of  the  law. 


30  The  Crucifixion 

4.  He  calls  himself  falsely  the  Son  of 

5.  He  calls  himself  falsely  king  of  Israel. 

6.  He  entered  into  the  Temple  followed 
by  a  multitude  bearing  palm-branches  in 
their  hands. 

Orders  the  first  Centurion,  Quilius  Cor- 
nelius, to  lead  him  to  the  place  of  execution. 

Forbids  any  person  whomsoever,  either 
poor  or  rich,  to  oppose  the  death  of  Jesus 

The  witnesses  who  signed  the  condemna- 
tion of  Jesus  are : 

1.  Daniel  Eobani,  a  Pharisee. 

2.  Joannus  Eobani. 

3.  Eaphael  Eobani. 

4.  Capet,  a  citizen. 

Jesus  shall  go  out  of  the  city  of  Jeru- 
salem by  the  gate  of  Struenus. 

The  foregoing  is  engraved  on  a  copper 
plate,  on  the  reverse  side  of  which  is  writ- 
ten: '*  A  similar  plate  is  sent  to  each  tribe." 

It  was  found  in  an  antique  marble  vase, 

The  Death  Warrant  31 

while  excavating  in  the  ancient  city  of 
Aquila  in  the  kingdom  of  Naples,  in  the 
year  1810,  and  was  discovered  by  the  Com- 
missioners of  Arts  of  the  French  Army. 

At  the  expedition  of  Naples,  it  was  en- 
closed in  a  box  of  ebony  and  preserved  in 
the  sacristy  of  the  Chartem  (Certosa). 

The  French  translation  was  made  by  the 
Commissioners  of  Arts. 

The  original  is  in  the  Hebrew  language. 




PEACE  be  with  you  dear  brethren  I 
You  have  heard  of  the  things  that 
have  happened  in  Jerusalem  and  Palestine 
in  general.  You  were  right  to  believe  Jesus 
to  be  our  Brother  and  a  member  of  our 
Order,  of  whom  his  friends  among  the  Eo- 
mans  and  Jewish  people  relate,  that  he 
taught  and  wrought  great  wonders,  and 
finally  suffered  the  death  of  martyrs  in 

He  was  born  in  Nazareth,  by  the  entrance 
to  the  beautiful  valley  into  which  the  river 
**Kisson"  rushes  down  the  steep  declivi- 
ties of  the  Mount  Tabor.  He  was  put  under 
the  protection  of  the  Order  by  a  member 
of  our  Brotherhood,  by  whom  his  father 
and  mother  found  a  refuge  on  their  flight 
to  Egypt.  There  are,  as  you  know,  many 
of  our  brethren  living  on  the  borders  of 

In  fine,  Jesus  was  admitted  into  the 


36  The  Crucifixion 

Order  at  the  same  time  with  John  in  their 
years  of  early  manhood.  He  lived  then  in 
Galilee  and  had  just  returned  from  a  visit 
to  Jerusalem,  where  he  was  watched  by  our 
Brotherhood.  Jutha  was  the  place  of  his 
initiation,  close  by  the  grand  castle  of  Mas- 
seda,  where  the  mountains  raise  their  lofty 
peaks  above  the  surrounding  country. 

My  dear  Brethren,  you  may  all  have 
been  convinced  that  he  has  been  a  member 
of  our  Order,  as  well  by  the  doctrines  he 
has  taught  the  people,  and  his  signs  of  rec- 
ognition, especially  the  baptism  and  the 
breaking  of  the  bread  and  passing  of  the 
wine,  as  well  as  by  his  being  baptized  by 
one  of  our  brethren,  John,  in  Jordan,  near 
the  shore  of  the  Dead  Sea,  in  a  westerly 
direction — for  baptism,  as  you  know,  has 
been,  since  time  immemorial,  a  sacred  insti- 
tution in  our  Order. 

You  wonder  that  the  belief  in  the  super- 
natural and  miracles  should  gain  foothold 
in  our  midst,  when  you  know  that  we  all 
have  to  bear  the  responsibility  for  the  ac- 
tions of  one  of  our  members. 

The  Letter  37 

Therefore,  you  ought  to  know  that  the 
rumor  is  like  a  wind.  When  it  commences 
it  drives  the  pure  air  far  ahead,  but  in  its 
progress  it  receives  all  vapors  and  mist 
from  the  earth,  and  when  it  has  traveled 
some  distance  it  creates  darkness  instead 
of  the  clear  pure  air  of  which  it  was  at 
first  composed,  and  at  last  consists  solely 
of  the  particles  it  has  received  during  its 

It  is  even  so  with  the  rumors  concerning 
Jesus  and  his  fate. 

Furthermore,  remember  that  the  in- 
spired men,  who  have  written  and  spoken 
of  him,  were  often  carried  away  by  the 
spirit  of  enthusiasm,  and  in  their  devotion 
and  simplicity  they  believed  all  the  things 
told  them  about  him  by  the  multitudes  who 
were  even  more  simple-minded  and  super- 
stitious than  they. 

Bear  ever  in  mind  also  that,  in  accord- 
ance with  our  rules,  the  secrets  of  our  holy 
Brotherhood  at  all  times  remained  un- 
known to  these  writers,  and  that  only  our 

88  The  Crucifixion 

higher  members  had  any  knowledge  about 
the  secret  assistance  and  protection  Jesus 
received  from  us. 

And,  finally,  do  not  forget  that  our  rigid 
laws  prohibited  us  from  interfering  or 
taking  any  active  part  in  the  councils  or 
plans  of  the  rulers  of  the  land. 

Therefore  we  have  acted  quietly  and 
secretly,  and  have  suffered  the  law  to  run 
its  course;  at  the  same  time  we  secretly 
aided  and  assisted  our  friend  in  ways  which 
did  not  infringe  the  law  and  our  rules. 

Know  then  that  Jesus  was  and  is  our 
*  *  Brother, ' '  and  himself  vowed,  when  he  at 
Jutha  was  made  an  initiate  of  our  Order, 
that  our  Brotherhood  thenceforth  should 
be  to  him  as  father  and  mother;  and  truly 
we  have  proved  us  so  in  the  spirit  and  the 
letter  of  our  law. 

I  write  this  to  you,  my  Brethren,  in  the 
truth  and  knowledge  of  our  Brotherhood, 
that  you  may  know  and  understand  the 
truth  concerning  what  has  come  to  pass. 
I  tell  you  only  of  the  things  I  know,  and  I 

The  Letter  39 

have  seen  it  all  with  mine  own  eyes  and 
have  taken  a  deep  interest  and  an  active 
part  in  all  these  transactions. 
'  Now,  at  the  time  that  I  write  this  to  you, 
the  Jews  have  seven  times  eaten  of  the 
lamb  of  the  passover  since  our  Brother  was 
crucified,  our  Brother  whom  we  all  loved 
and  in  whom  God  was  glorified.  Neverthe- 
less I  have  forgotten  none  of  the  things 
I  have  lived  to  see  come  to  pass.  Indeed, 
as  true  as  are  the  words  that  pass  from 
my  lips,  and  the  thoughts  that  I  write,  as 
verily  do  I  believe  from  the  depths  of  my 
soul,  that  Jesus  was  chosen  of  God  and 
begotten  by  the  Eternal  Spirit.  He  called 
himself  the  son  of  God,  and  he  proved  him- 
self to  us  by  teaching  in  the  name  of  God. 
He  also  lived  a  holy  life,  and  was  deeply 
learned  in  the  secrets  of  all  the  kingdoms 
of  nature.  In  all  these  things  we  of  the 
secret  Brotherhood  acknowledge  God;  and 
the  man  among  us  who  can  say :  *  *  Behold, 
I  am  of  God,''  verily  he  is  so ;  for  he  that  is 
not  cannot  say  it,  not  having  the  word  in 

40  The  Crucifixion 

his  heart,  and  not  having  learned  it  from 
the  spirit. 

I  will  now  tell  you  of  the  parentage  of 
this  man,  who  loved  all  men,  and  for  whom 
we  feel  the  highest  esteem,  that  you  may 
have  full  knowledge  of  him. 

He  was  from  his  infancy  brought  up 
for  our  Brotherhood.  Indeed,  he  was  pre- 
dicted by  an  ^^Esseer"  whom  the  woman 
thought  to  be  an  angel.  This  woman  was 
given  to  many  imaginings,  delving  into  the 
supernatural  and  into  the  mysteries  of  life, 
and  she  found  deep  interest  and  pleasure 
in  the  things  she  could  not  explain. 

Our  Brother,  the  **Esseer,"  has  acknowl- 
edged to  us  his  part  in  these  things,  and 
has  persuaded  the  Brotherhood  secretly  to 
search  for  and  protect  the  child. 

And  Joseph,  who  was  a  man  of  great 
experience  in  life,  and  deep  devotion  to  the 
immortal  truth,  through  a  messenger  of 
our  Order  was  influenced  not  to  leave  the 
woman  nor  to  disturb  her  faith  in  the 
sacredness  of  her  experience,  and  to  be  a 

The  Letter  41 

father  to  the  child  until  our  Brotherhood 
should  admit  him  as  a  novice. 

Thus,  during  their  flight  to  Egypt, 
Joseph  was  secretly  protected  and  guided 
by  our  Order  and  conducted  as  a  guest  to 
the  congregated  Brotherhood  by  the  Mount 
**Cassius,''  at  the  slope  of  the  mount,  on 
which  the  Eomans  have  built  a  temple  dedi- 
cated to  Jupiter.  The  **Esseers"  who 
lived  there  were  commissioned  to  intro- 
duce Joseph,  his  wife  and  the  child  into 
their  congregation,  that  they  might  see  our 
way  of  worshiping  and  praising  God,  **the 
Creator  of  all, ' '  and  learn  the  ceremony  of 
eating  the  consecrated  bread  and  drinking 
the  holy  wine. 

At  our  request  they  informed  our 
Brotherhood  in  Jerusalem  how  it  all  had 
been  done.  Joseph  was  placed  among  the 
half -circle  of  men  on  the  right  hand,  and 
Mary,  his  wife,  among  the  women  on  the 
left  hand.  There  they,  with  our  Brethren, 
ate  the  bread  and  drank  the  wine,  and  all 
together  sang  the  holy  hymns. 

42  The  Crucifixion 

Further,  Joseph  here  vowed  before  the 
elder  of  our  Brotherhood,  that  he  re- 
nounced forever  any  claim  on  the  child  who 
was  thenceforth  to  belong  to  the  Order.  He 
was  then  made  acquainted  with  the  saluta- 
tion and  sign  of  the  holy  Brotherhood, 
which  would  enable  him  during  his  travels 
to  make  himself  known  to  these.  They  also 
directed  him  which  route  to  take  to  arrive 
in  safety. 

This  route  was  through  a  part  of  the 
country  where  there  lived  many  enlightened 
and  learned  Jews  who  were  well  versed  in 
the  Scriptures,  and  devoted  to  study. 
Among  these  our  Order  has  many  mem- 
bers. These  were  ordered  to  protect 
Joseph  and  be  hospitable  to  him,  even  be- 
fore he  arrived  among  them.  This  was  in 
the  beautiful  country  of  Heliopolis  with  its 
splendid  forests,  and  near  unto  the  temple 
of  Jehovah,  erected  by  Onias. 

When  the  peril  in  Galilee  was  over  and 
the  Eoman  ** Warns"  was  pillaging  in 
Judea,  making  that  country  unsafe,  Joseph 

The  Letter  43 

went  to  Nazareth,  which  is  situate  near  by 
the  steep  mount  of  Tabor. 

But  soon  Archelaus  brought  new  terror 
over  Galilee,  and  Joseph  was  persuaded  by 
our  brethren  to  go  to  Jerusalem — on  his 
way  passing  *^Luhem'' — and  there  seek 
protection  by  our  Brotherhood.  This  was 
duly  accomplished,  and  at  passover  they 
arrived  at  ^^Nisan." 

Here  I  myself  spoke  with  them.  I  was 
then  in  the  lower  degree  of  the  Order,  and 
in  obedience  to  the  command  of  the  elder 
carried  a  message  to  Joseph.  I  found  him 
to  be  a  man  of  candor  and  wide  experience 
who  spoke  with  great  judgment  and  wis- 
dom. Indeed,  he  exhorted  Mary  to  describe 
distinctly  the  differences  between  reality 
and  dreamy  imagination,  things  as  differ- 
ent as  the  day  is  from  the  night,  and  in- 
structed her  how  to  quiet  her  mind  through 
prayer  and  devotion. 

Her  mind  was  filled  with  fiery  imagin- 
ings that  often  lifted  her  thoughts  to  heav- 
enly things  and  made  her  indifferent  to 

44  The  Crucifixion 

tlie  things  of  the  earth.  In  consequence  she 
strongly  influenced  the  mind  of  her  son  to 
the  study  and  contemplation  of  immortal 

Joseph  commended  her  for  her  good 
influence  over  the  child.  He  also  instructed 
Jesus  in  knowledge  and  wisdom,  and  pro- 
tected his  pure  mind  against  the  power  of 
overstrained  imagination. 

And  when  the  child  Jesus  spoke  with  the 
scribes  concerning  holy  things  his  doctrines 
gave  deep  offense  to  the  Pharisees  in  Jeru- 
salem, in  that  they  considered  them  dan- 
gerous and  incredible. 

Inasmuch  as  the  Pharisees  held  rigidly 
to  the  traditions  and  details  of  the  law  of 
Moses,  they  were  deeply  aggrieved  against 
every  one  who  did  not  believe  with  them, 
and  who  did  not  keep  in  outward  form  to 
the  ceremonials  of  their  temple  service. 

They  gave  alms  in  the  sight  of  the  multi- 
tudes. They  taught  of  ^HJie  kingdom  of  the 
dead/'  of  the  influence  of  good  angels  and 
evil  spirits,  and  of  the  future  grand  eternal 

The  Letter  45 

destiny  of  the  Jewish  people.  Although 
they  had  many  friends  among  the  common 
people,  and  exercised  great  power  and  in- 
fluence with  them;  nevertheless,  the  Spirit 
of  God  dwelt  neither  in  their  houses  nor  on 
their  tongues. 

But  Joseph  had  come  to  be  of  our  doc- 
trines, and  without  figures  or  mysteries  he 
fixed  them  in  the  mind  of  the  growing  child. 
Indeed,  the  child  thus  early  was  touched 
by  the  miseries  of  the  people,  and  they 
were  enraptured  to  hear  him  teach  the 
word  of  God.  The  Scribes  knew  him  to  be 
from  Galilee,  and  they  despised  him  as 
they  despised  the  whole  people  of  Galilee. 

But  some  of  our  brethren  went  to  the 
temple,  and  without  betraying  themselves 
through  our  holy  salutation,  kept  him  in 
their  midst,  that  they  might  thus  protect 

When  the  divine  child  had  spoken  pub- 
licly, in  the  temple,  then  were  our  brothers 
apprehensive  of  the  dangers  that  threat- 
ened him ;  for  they  knew  that  the  Pharisees 

46  The  Crucifixion 

and  the  Eabbis  were  in  private  council 
fully  determined  to  banish  him  from  Gali- 
lee because  of  his  doctrines.  They  there- 
fore lured  him  to  the  synagogue  of 
Sopherim  by  manifesting  to  him  an  as- 
sumed interest  in  the  law,  for  they  per- 
ceived that  in  all  his  ardor  and  enthusiasm 
he  was  influenced  by  nothing  else. 

Thus  it  came  to  pass  that  he  was  lost 
from  his  father  and  mother  in  the  large 
city  which  then  contained  many  people 
from  the  whole  country,  because  of  the 

Our  friends,  the  Esseers,  were  informed 
of  these  things,  and  they  saw  that  it  was 
not  safe  nor  wise  for  the  child  to  remain 
longer  among  the  Pharisees,  as  much  more 
as  a  Rabbi,  who  had  become  a  true  friend 
and  teacher  to  the  child,  no  more  could  be 
present  to  moderate  his  zeal  and  ardor, 
contending  as  he  was  with  the  immoral 
hypocrites,  as  the  Rabbi  had  gone  on  a 
journey  to  Jericho. 

Therefore  we  informed  Joseph  and  his 

The  Letter  47 

-wife,  whom  we  found  in  double  grief  inas- 
much as  they  at  the  time  also  had  been  in- 
formed that  the  husband  of  Elizabeth, 
Mary's  friend,  had  died.  Thus,  for  three 
days  Mary  had  been  searching  for  her  son, 
in  deep  sorrow,  and  at  the  same  time  she 
felt  a  strong  desire  to  go  and  see  her 
friend.  At  last,  on  the  fourth  day,  she 
found  her  son  at  Sopherim,  according  to 
the  information  given  her  by  our  Brethren. 

And  Nabbin,  the  Eabbi  who  had  taken 
such  deep  interest  in  the  child,  was  a  secret 
member  of  our  Order,  and  had  received 
instructions  to  protect  him. 

Thus  it  came  to  pass  that  Mary,  her  hus- 
band and  her  son  returned  to  Jutha. 

Here  she  found  her  friend  Elizabeth  in 
great  grief,  with  her  son,  whose  name  was 

Here  the  two  youths  were  much  together, 
and  together  they  talked  much  about  the 
sacred  and  the  divine.  Oft  they  wandered 
into  the  wildest  parts  of  the  mountain  re- 
gions.   They  grew  to  be  devoted  friends, 

48  The  Crucifixion 

and  their  attachment  ripened  into  intimate 
acquaintance  with  each  other  in  their 
search  for  truth. 

John,  who  was  the  son  of  Zacharias,  had 
already  received  the  doctrines  of  the  Naza- 
renes  as  regards  reservedness,  and  he  knew 
perfectly  the  Scriptures  and  traditions,  but 
comprehended  not  the  beautiful  and  the 
exalted  in  this  world,  nor  the  laws  of  na- 
ture, as  well  as  Jesus.  He  felt  great  dis- 
like for  the  customs  of  the  heathens,  and 
despised  and  hated  all  tyrants. 

And  the  time  had  come  when  Jesus 
should  be  admitted  into  the  first  degree  of 
our  Order.  And  in  the  valley  our  Order 
had  a  Brotherhood,  situate  near  the  moun- 
tain where  the  castle  Masseda  stands,  and 
the  elder  of  our  Brotherhood  met  them 
there,  and  listened  to  their  conversation. 

He  taught  them  that  wisdom  and  virtue 
are  strengthened  by  fraternity ;  whereupon 
Jesus,  in  a  transport  of  great  joy,  asked 
that  he  might  be  prepared  at  once  for  ad- 
mittance into  our  holy  Order.    The  exam- 

The  Letter  49 

pie  set  by  Jesus  was  followed  by  John,  and 
the  elder  offered  up  a  prayer  which  made 
Jesus  a  devotee  of  God. 

According  to  the  rules  of  our  Order,  the 
elder  now  said :  *  *  You  shall  be  my  breth- 
ren as  soon  as  you,  by  the  next  new  moon, 
shall  see  the  glare  of  the  fire  on  the  moun- 
tain where  the  temple  is  built,  and  where 
you  then  will  appear.  He  that  is  initiated 
into  our  Order  must  at  the  same  time  dedi- 
cate his  life  to  the  service  of  others.  Tell 
your  father  Joseph  that  the  time  is  now 
come  for  him  to  fulfil  the  vow  he  made  at 
Mount  Cassius/' 

The  Esseer  then  departed.  But  when  the 
child  had  returned  to  his  home  Joseph  was 
already  remembered  of  his  vow  and  of  his 
duties  to  our  brethren. 

Joseph  then,  for  the  first  time,  made 
known  to  Jesus  that  he  was  not  his  father. 

Together  they  kept  secret  the  admission 
of  Jesus  into  our  Brotherhood,  for  fear  of 
the  Gaulanites. 

At  the  appointed  time  they  saw,  in  the 

50  The  Crucifixion 

evening,  the  fire  signal  ascend  from  the 
mountain,  whereupon  they  immediately  set 
forth  to  journey  thither.  When  they  were 
arrived  at  the  temple  they  were  met  by  the 
white-robed  messengers  sent  by  the 

According  to  our  rules,  Jesus  was 
initiated  into  our  holy  Order,  after  the  fol- 
lowing manner : 

Both  were  instructed  and  shown  the 
way  to  enter  into  the  assemblage,  where 
the  brethren  were  seated  in  four  separated 
groups,  according  to  the  four  degrees. 
Over  the  scene  the  crescent  shed  its  lurid 
glare.  The  two  were  placed  before  the 
brethren.  There  they  made  their  vow,  the 
brethren  in  their  white  robes  placing  their 
right  hands  upon  their  breasts,  with  the 
left  hanging  down  at  the  side.  And  this 
was  done  as  a  token  that  none  but  the  pure 
in  heart  shall  see  that  which  is  sacred  and 

And  the  two  vowed  indifference  to  the 
treasures  of  earth,  to  worldly  power  or 

The  Letter  51 

name,  and  by  the  brotherly  kiss  they  vowed 
obedience  and  secrecy. 

And,  in  obedience  to  our  custom,  when 
these  two  had  made  their  vow  they  were 
conducted  into  the  lonely  cavern  where,  for 
three  days  and  nights,  they  were  subject  to 
self-examination  and  trial. 

In  the  evening  of  the  third  day  they  were 
again  brought  before  the  assembled  breth- 
ren to  answer  the  questions  put  to  them, 
and  then  to  pray. 

Having  received  the  brotherly  kiss,  they 
were  clothed  in  white  robes,  emblems  of 
sacred  purity,  and  the  trowel,  emblematic 
of  the  labors  of  our  Brotherhood,  was  put 
into  their  hands. 

Having  sung  the  sacred  hymns  and  pa;*- 
taken  of  the  feast  of  love  by  themselves, 
according  to  the  custom  of  our  Order  none 
of  the  brethren  participating,  they  were 
dismissed.  After  this  they  were  instructed 
concerning  the  trials  and  the  disciplines 
through  which  they  must  pass — living  in 
the  loneliness  of  solitude,  separate  from 

52  The  Crucifixion 

the  world  of  mankind,  for  the  period  of  one 
year,  at  a  point  near  the  elder  of  the  Order 
from  whom  they  should  receive  instruc- 
tions fitting  them  for  advancement  in  the 
higher  degrees  of  our  Order. 

Both  grew  rapidly  in  divine  knowledge. 
Jesus  was  frank  and  hearty  of  disposition, 
but  John  shrouded  himself  in  stern  serious- 
ness and  solitude. 

When  the  year  of  trial  and  self-examina- 
tion was  passed,  they  were  again,  under 
the  new  moon,  admitted  into  the  Order, 
this  time  as  real  members,  and  initiated 
into  the  higher  science. 

When  they  had  given  a  full  account  of 
their  conduct  during  the  preceding  year, 
and  acted  in  obedience  to  all  the  rules  of 
the  Order,  and  performed  the  ceremonies 
of  singing  and  prayer  and  partaking  of  the 
feast  of  love,  they  were  conducted  to  the 
secret  chamber  of  worship,  and  there  they 
were  instructed  and  admonished  to  search 
the  Scriptures. 

Inasmuch  as  the  rules  of  our  Order  per- 

The  Letter  53 

mit  the  admitted  member  either  to  remain 
with  the  Brotherhood  in  secret  labor  and 
fellowship,  or  go  out  into  the  world  to 
teach  or  heal,  according  to  his  election,  so 
Jesus  chose  to  go  forth  teaching,  while 
John  chose  to  become  a  *  *  Terapeut, ' '  or 

Jesus  felt  himself  called  by  the  spirit 
of  God,  and  longed  to  preach  the  doctrines 
of  our  Order  to  the  people. 

Thus  it  came  to  pass  that  John  returned 
to  Jutha,  to  live  in  solitude  in  the  wilder- 
ness, and  Jesus  returned  to  Nazareth. 

Here  he  proved  gloriously  his  virtue,  and 
fulfilled  his  vow  to  the  Order.  His  friend 
Lazarus  had  a  sister  Mary,  who  loved 
Jesus;  and  he,  in  his  heart,  returned  her 

But,  according  to  the  rules  of  our  Order, 
an  Esseer  is  not  allowed  to  take  unto  him- 
self a  wife,  after  his  own  desire,  lest  the 
sacred  work  be  thereby  retarded. 

And  so  it  was  that  Jesus  overcame  his 
love  for  this  woman  by  his  dutiful  devotion 

54  The  Crucifixion 

to  unselfish  service  of  the  Brotherhood. 
But  the  struggle  was  hard,  and  at  the  hour 
of  their  parting  both  Jesus  and  Mary  wept 

I  have  informed  you  of  all  these  things, 
my  Brethren,  that  you  shall  indeed  know 
that  Jesus  was  our  Brother,  and  belonged 
to  our  Holy  Order. 

Thus  all  doubts  and  uncertainties  on  this 
matter  must  be  ended.  Jesus,  our  Brother, 
willingly  suffered  death  that  he  might 
thereby  glorify  the  doctrines  of  our  Order ; 
and  the  greatest  reward  of  our  virtue  is 
that  we  may,  in  like  manner,  be  allowed  to 
sacrifice  ourselves  for  it. 

You  have  heard  the  accounts  which  the 
Jews  and  his  disciples  have  given  concern- 
ing him;  that  they  have  seen  him  in  the 
mountains  and  on  the  road  after  they  be- 
lieved him  to  be  dead. 

The  divine  providence  has  given  us  a 
minute  knowledge  of  these  events  that  is 
hidden  from  the  people,  and  it  is  our  duty 
to  inform  you  of  the  facts  in  reply  to  your 
questions  relative  thereto. 

The  Letter  55 

Even  as  I  write  this,  my  eyes  overflow 
with  tears,  and  I  seem  to  see  our  Brother 
in  the  midst  of  his  torture  and  in  the  an- 
guish of  death;  and  my  afflicted  mind  is 
anew  wounded  by  the  recollection  of  his 
majestic  courage  and  self-sacrifice. 

He  was  sent  of  God,  chosen  by  the 
Almighty,  beloved  of  us  all,  and  inspired 
both  in  teaching  and  in  the  knowledge  of 
nature  and  its  elements. 

Hear  then,  my  Brethren,  what  occurred 
in  Jerusalem  seven  passovers  ago.  I  have 
seen  it  all  with  my  own  eyes,  and  with  my 
lips  I  have  kept  it  a  secret,  that  the  world 
should  not  know  it;  for  the  Jews  and  the 
heathen  believe  only  in  the  things  they 
have  seen  with  their  eyes.  And  so  they 
have  no  faith  in  God  beyond  that  which 
they  can  conceive  with  their  senses. 

Therefore,  my  dear  Brethren,  you 
should  give  praise  to  God  that  it  has  thus 
come  to  pass.  We  have  kept  these  things 
a  secret  from  the  people,  lest  their  belief 
in  providence  should  be  diminished.    For 

56  The  Crucifixion 

you  know  there  are  many  pious  and  excel- 
lent men  who  have  recorded  and  remem- 
bered the  life  and  death  of  Jesus,  but  have 
them  only  from  rumors,  augmented  and 
corrupted  by  superstition ;  and  from  rever- 
ence and  piety  they  believe  what  they  hear 
of  a  beloved  Master. 

It  was  even  so  with  those,  chosen  from 
among  the  people,  who  were  called  disci- 
ples of  Jesus.  Most  of  them  have  heard 
the  story  of  his  life  and  death  only  through 
tradition,  as  it  has  been  told  from  man  ta 
man ;  although  there  were  others  who  were 
present ;  but  these  have  given  no  informa- 
tion concerning  these  important  events. 

In  secrecy  I  will  now  inform  you  of  what 
I  and  our  Brotherhood  in  Jerusalem  have 
seen  and  witnessed ;  and  you  know  that  an 
Esseer  never  permits  aught  to  pass  his  lips 
save  the  strictest  truth.  Every  man  who 
has  the  gift  of  speech  should  magnify  God, 
and  give  manifestation  of  him,  even  as  God 
has  given  unto  him  a  tongue  in  his  mouth. 

We  might  indeed  have  saved  our  beloved 

The  Letter  57 

Brother  frora  the  vengeance  of  his  ene- 
mies, if  everything  had  not  come  to  pass 
so  quickly,  and  if  our  laws  had  not  pro- 
hibited us  from  interfering  in  public 

Nevertheless,  we  have  saved  him  in 
secret,  as  he  fulfilled  his  divine  mission  in 
the  sight  of  all  the  universe.  Indeed,  that 
a  man  die  for  his  faith  does  not  increase 
the  glory  of  God ;  but  that  he,  full  of  devo- 
tion and  divine  confidence,  suffer  himself 
to  be  subjected  to  martyrdom  for  his 
faith;  and  this  resolution,  firmly  fixed  in 
mind,  constitutes  the  fulfilment  of  our  work 
in  the  sight  of  the  world. 

Therefore,  pay  good  heed  to  what  I  now 
tell  you,  that  you  may  judge  for  yourselves 
of  the  rumors  that  have  reached  you  hence 
and  from  Rome. 

[Here  is  a  large  vacant  place  in  the 
document,  caused  by  the  destroying  influ- 
ence of  time,  the  deciphering  of  which  is 
not  possible  from  the  still  existing 

58  The  Crucifixion 

The  procession  in  which  was  the  doomed 
Jesus  and  the  two  thieves,  wound  its  way- 
out  of  the  entrance  to  the  valley  that  leads 
from  Jerusalem  to  Golgotha,  the  place  of 

The  women  cried  loudly  when  they  be- 
held Jesus  almost  sinking  down  under  the 
weight  of  the  cross,  and  his  wounds,  from 
the  scourging  he  had  undergone,  bleeding 

Having  arrived  at  the  barren  mountain 
ridge  * '  Gileon, ' '  where  nothing  grows,  and 
which  lay  on  the  north  side,  through  which 
the  lonely  valley  of  death  winds  its  way, 
they  halted,  and  Jesus  fell  to  the  ground, 
his  tortured  body  losing  all  its  strength. 

Meanwhile  the  Eoman  soldiers  were 
selecting  places  for  erecting  the  crosses. 
This  done,  they  desired  to  prove  their  sym- 
pathy with  the  sufferers  by  giving  to  them 
a  drink  that  made  them  unconscious,  ac- 
cording to  the  custom  before  crucifixion. 
This  drink  was  made  from  sour  wine  mixed 
with  wormwood,  and  was  called  **Toska." 

The  Letter  59 

But  Jesus  did  not  wish  to  die  for  his 
faith  and  the  truth  as  a  drunkard,  where- 
fore he  refused  to  drink  of  it,  having  knowl- 
edge, from  our  Order,  of  the  qualities  of 
the  mixture,  which  he  knew  by  testing  it. 

And  the  crosses  being  erected,  the  time 
was  now  come  when  the  punishment  was 
to  be  inflicted  on  Jesus.  The  first  cere- 
mony was  to  tear  his  clothes  from  his  body. 
But  in  order  that  this  might  be  done  it  was 
necessary  to  divest  him  of  the  soldier's 
mantle  that  he  wore  after  the  scourging, 
and  put  on  him  his  own  clothes,  which 
latter  were  then  torn  off  his  body  as  the 
law  requires. 

At  the  request  of  the  servants  of  San- 
hedrim, the  cross  designed  for  Jesus  was 
placed  in  the  middle,  between  those  for  the 
two  thieves,  thereby  denoting  that  his  was 
the  greatest  crime.  They  had  even  dis- 
tinguished his  cross  from  the  others,  for 
although  they  commonly  were  constructed 
in  such  a  manner  that  the  perpendicular 
beam  did  not  reach  above  the  cross-beam. 

60  The  Crucifixion 

his  was  of  different  form,  the  perpendicu- 
lar beam  reaching  far  above  the  cross- 

They  then  laid  hold  of  Jesus,  and,  lifting 
him  up,  placed  him  on  the  short  stake  which 
is  always  put  in  front  of  each  cross,  that 
the  body  of  the  criminal  may  rest  there 
while  being  tied.  They  tied  the  arms  as 
usual  with  strong  cords,  and  so  tightly  that 
all  the  blood  went  back  to  the  heart,  and 
breathing  was  thereby  made  difficult. 

In  the  same  manner  they  tied  his  feet, 
and  wound  half  way  up  his  legs  strong 
cords  which  also  drove  the  circulating 
blood  back  to  the  heart. 

After  this  they  drove  through  his  hands 
thick  iron  nails,  but  none  through  his  feet, 
for  this  was  not  customary.  I  note  this 
particularly,  my  dear  Brethren,  inasmuch 
as  it  has  been  rumored  that  he  was  nailed 
through  both  his  hands  and  his  feet. 

Thus  the  just  hung,  exposed  to  untold 
sufferings,  in  the  heat  of  the  sun,  which 
on  that  day  was  extreme  and  fatiguing, 

The  Letter  61 

while  the  soldiers  took  possession  of  his 
clothes,  according  to  the  custom.  The  cloak 
they  cut  into  four  parts ;  but  the  tunic  was 
woven,  and  could  not  be  torn  asunder, 
wherefore  they  cast  lots  for  it. 

After  the  noonday,  when  the  sun  had 
turned,  there  came  throngs  of  people  from 
the  city,  drawn  thither  by  curiosity;  and 
there  were  several  priests  present,  gloating 
over  their  sinful  vengeance.  They  derided 
him,  bowed  down  as  he  was  with  grief  and 
pain,  and  exhorted  the  people  to  mock  him. 

Jesus  suffered  quietly,  directing  his  gaze 
to  the  sky.  He  heard  not  the  women  of  his 
tribe  from  Galilee,  who  were  standing  some 
distance  away  wringing  their  hands  and 
lamenting  his,  as  they  thought,  untimely 

These  sounds  of  anguish  and  lamenta- 
tion were  drowned  by  the  noise  of  horse- 
men advancing  to  the  scene.  This  was  the 
high-priest  *  *  Caiaphas ' '  with  a  large  escort 
of  servants,  who  came  to  mock  and  deride 
the  crucified  son  of  God.    And  even  one  of 

62  The  Crucifixion 

the  crucified  thieves  joined  with  them  in 
deriding  him,  for  he  had  secretly  hoped 
that  Jesus  would  have  delivered  both  him- 
self and  them  through  a  miracle. 

Now  the  Romans,  in  derision  of  the  Jews, 
had  fixed  a  tablet  or  plate  on  the  cross,  over 
his  head,  whereon  in  four  different  lan- 
guages they  designated  him  ^^King  of  the 
Jews/'  This  deeply  angered  the  priests, 
but,  inasmuch  as  they  feared  Pilate,  they 
exhausted  their  wrath  by  mocking  Jesus. 

Darkness  descended  over  the  earth,  and 
the  people  returned  to  Jerusalem.  But 
Jesus'  disciples,  his  friends  and  the  elders 
of  our  holy  Order  remained  on  Golgotha, 
our  Order  having  near  by  a  colony  for  wor- 
ship and  for  partaking  of  our  feast  of  love. 

And  Jesus  recognized  his  mother  among 
the  weeping  women  from  Galilee,  standing 
close  by  the  silent  John  (the  Evangelist). 
Jesus  called  out  loudly,  in  the  anguish  of 
his  pain,  citing  the  twenty-second  Psalm, 
praying  God  thereby  to  deliver  him  from 
his  sufferings. 

The  Letter  63 

There  were  still  a  few  Pharisees  remain- 
ing on  the  mountain,  who  intended  mock- 
ing him,  because  they  had  expected  and 
hoped  that  Jesus  would  descend  from  the 
cross,  **the  worldly  savior  of  the  people"; 
and  as  this  had  not  come  to  pass,  they  felt 
themselves  deceived  and  were  therefore 

The  heat  grew  steadily  more  intense, 
more  unendurable,  and  a  fire  was  forming 
in  the  earth  and  air,  such  as  is  essential 
to  the  purification  of  the  elements.  The 
Esseer  brethren,  through  their  knowledge 
of  nature  and  its  elements,  knew  that  an 
earthquake  was  coming,  as  had  formerly 
occurred  in  the  days  of  our  forefathers. 

As  the  night  approached  the  earth  began 
a  terrible  shaking,  and  the  Eoman  Centu- 
rion became  so  terrified  that  he  prayed  to 
his  heathen  gods.  He  believed  that  Jesus 
was  beloved  by  the  gods.  Most  of  the 
frightened  people  hastily  departed  from 
the  place  and  returned  to  Jerusalem;  and 
the  Centurion,  who  was  a  noble  man  of 

64  The  Crucifixion 

compassionate  nature,  permitted  John  to 
conduct  the  mother  of  Jesus  close  to  the 

Jesus  was  consumed  with  thirst.  His 
lips  were  parched  and  dry,  and  the  pain 
was  burning  in  his  limbs.  A  soldier  put 
a  sponge  dipped  in  vinegar  on  a  long  cane 
of  hyssop,  and  from  this  Jesus  quenched 
his  thirst. 

As  he  recommended  his  mother  to  the 
care  of  John,  it  was  growing  darker, 
although  the  full  moon  should  have  been 
shining  in  the  heavens.  From  the  Dead 
Sea  was  observed  to  rise  a  thick,  reddish 
fog.  The  mountain  ridges  round  about 
Jerusalem  shook  violently,  and  the  head 
of  Jesus  sank  down  upon  his  breast. 

When  he  uttered  his  last  groan  of  an- 
guish and  pain,  and  passed  away,  a  hiss- 
ing sound  was  heard  in  the  air;  and  they 
of  the  Jews  that  still  remained  were  seized 
by  a  great  fear,  for  they  believed  that  the 
evil  spirits  who  dwell  between  heaven  and 
earth  were  proceeding  to  punish  the  people. 

The  Letter  65 

It  was  that  strange  and  unusual  sound  in 
the  air  that  precedes  an  earthquake. 

Soon  the  mountain  began  to  shake,  the 
surrounding  country  and  the  city  com- 
menced to  rock,  and  the  thick  walls  of 
the  temple  gave  way  until  the  veil  in  the 
temple  parted  and  fell  from  its  place.  Even 
the  rocks  burst  asunder,  and  the  hewn 
sepulchres  in  the  rock  were  destroyed,  as 
were  also  many  of  the  corpses  kept  therein. 

And  as  the  Jews  regarded  all  this  as  ex- 
tremely supernatural,  so  the  Roman  Cen- 
turion believed  now  in  the  divinity  and 
innocence  of  Christ,  and  comforted  his 

Although  our  brethren  did  not  dare  to 
tell  the  people,  as  it  is  a  secret  with  us, 
nevertheless  they  well  knew  the  cause  of 
this  phenomenon  of  nature,  and  believed  in 
their  Brother  without  ascribing  to  him 
supernatural  powers. 

Dear  Brethren,  you  have  reproached  us, 
in  that  we  did  not  save  our  Friend  from  the 
cross  by  secret  means.    But  I  need  only  to 

66  The  Crucifixion 

remind  you  that  the  sacred  law  of  our 
Order  prohibits  us  from  proceeding  pub- 
licly, and  from  interfering  in  matters  of 
state.  Moreover,  two  of  our  Brethren,  in- 
fluential and  experienced,  did  use  all  their 
influence  with  Pilate  and  the  Jewish  coun- 
cil in  behalf  of  Jesus,  but  their  efforts  were 
frustrated  in  that  Jesus  himself  requested 
that  he  might  be  permitted  to  suffer  death 
for  his  faith,  and  thus  fulfil  the  law;  for, 
as  you  know,  to  die  for  truth  and  virtue 
is  the  greatest  sacrifice  a  Brother  can 

There  was  a  certain  Joseph,  from  Ari- 
mathea.  He  was  rich,  and  being  a  member 
of  the  council,  he  was  much  esteemed  by  the 
people.  He  was  a  prudent  man,  and  whilst 
he  did  not  appear  to  belong  to  any  party, 
he  was  secretly  a  member  of  our  sacred 
Order  and  lived  in  accordance  with  our 
laws.  His  friend  Nicodemus  was  a  most 
learned  man,  and  belonged  to  the  highest 
degree  of  our  Order.  He  knew  the  secrets 
of  the  ''Terapeuts,"  and  was  often  to- 
gether with  us. 

The  Letter  67 

Now  it  so  happened  that  after  the  earth- 
quake, and  many  of  the  people  had  gone 
away,  Joseph  and  Nicodemus  arrived  at 
the  cross.  They  were  informed  of  the  death 
of  the  crucified,  in  the  garden  of  our  Breth- 
ren, not  far  from  Calvary. 

Although  they  loudly  lamented  his  fate, 
it  nevertheless  appeared  strange  to  them 
that  Jesus,  having  hung  less  than  seven 
hours,  should  already  be  dead.  They  could 
not  believe  it,  and  hastily  went  up  to  the 
place.  There  they  found  John  alone,  he 
having  determined  to  see  what  became  of 
the  beloved  body. 

Joseph  and  Nicodemus  examined  the 
body  of  Jesus,  and  Nicodemus,  greatly 
moved,  drew  Joseph  aside  and  said  to  him : 
*^As  sure  as  is  my  knowledge  of  life  and 
nature,  so  sure  is  it  possible  to  save  him." 

But  Joseph  did  not  understand  him,  and 
he  admonished  us  that  we  should  not  tell 
John  of  what  we  had  heard.  Indeed,  it  was 
a  secret  which  was  to  save  our  Brother 
from  death. 

68  The  Crucifixion 

Nicodemus  shouted:  ^*We  must  imme- 
diately have  the  body  with  its  bones  un- 
broken, because  he  may  still  be  saved"; 
then,  realizing  his  want  of  caution,  he  con- 
tinued in  a  whisper,  **  saved  from  being 
infamously  buried. ' ' 

He  persuaded  Joseph  to  disregard  his 
own  interest,  that  he  might  save  their 
Friend  by  going  immediately  to  Pilatus, 
and  prevailing  upon  him  to  permit  them 
to  take  Jesus'  body  from  the  cross  that 
very  night  and  put  it  in  the  sepulchre,  hewn 
in  the  rock  close  by,  and  which  belonged  to 

I,  understanding  what  he  meant,  re- 
mained with  John  to  watch  the  cross  and 
prevent  the  soldiers  from  breaking  the 
bones  of  Jesus. 

No  corpse  is  allowed  to  remain  on  the 
cross  over  night,  and  the  next  day  being 
Sunday,  they  would  now  take  him  down 
and  bury  him  early. 

The  Jewish  council  had  already  demand- 
ed of  Pilate  an  order  to  the  soldiers  to 

The  Letter  69 

break  the  bones  of  the  crucified,  that  they 
might  be  buried. 

Soon  after  Joseph  and  Nicodemus  had 
departed,  each  one  on  his  sacred  mission,  a 
messenger  arrived  bringing  the  order  to 
the  Centurion  to  take  down  the  corpses  and 
bury  them.  I  myself  was  greatly  agitated 
by  this  information,  for  I  knew  if  he  were 
not  handled  with  great  care  he  could  not  be 
saved,  and  still  less  if  his  bones  were  to  be 

Even  John  was  dismayed,  though  not 
from  fear  of  the  plans  being  frustrated,  for 
of  these  he  did  not  know ;  but  he  was  deeply 
grieved  at  the  thought  of  seeing  the  body 
of  his  friend  mutilated.  For  John  believed 
that  Jesus  was  dead. 

As  the  messenger  arrived  I  hastened  to 
him,  thinking  and  hoping  that  Joseph  al- 
ready might  have  seen  Pilate,  a  thing  of 
which  there  in  reality  was  no  possibility. 

*^Does  Pilate  send  youT'  I  asked  of  him. 

And  he  answered,  **I  come  not  from 
Pilate,  but  from  his  Secretary,  who  acts  for 

70  The  Crucifixion 

the  governor  in  such  unimportant  mat- 
ters. ' ' 

The  Centurion,  observing  my  anxiety, 
looked  at  me,  and  in  the  manner  of  a  friend 
I  said  to  him:  **You  have  seen  that  this 
man  that  is  crucified  is  an  uncommon  man. 
Do  not  maltreat  him,  for  a  rich  man  among 
the  people  is  now  with  Pilate  to 
offer  him  money  for  the  corpse,  that  he 
may  give  it  decent  burial." 

My  dear  Brethren,  I  must  here  inform 
you  that  Pilate  often  did  sell  the  bodies 
of  the  crucified  to  their  friends,  that  they 
might  thus  bury  them. 

And  the  Centurion  was  friendly  to  me, 
inasmuch  as  he  had  conceived  from  the 
events  that  Jesus  was  an  innocent  man. 
And  therefore,  when  the  two  thieves  were 
beaten  by  the  soldiers  with  heavy  clubs  and 
their  bones  broken,  the  Centurion  went 
past  the  cross  of  Jesus,  saying  to  the  sol- 
diers: *^Do  not  break  his  bones,  for  he  is 

And  a  man  was  seen  rapidly  approach- 

The  Letter  71 

ing  along  the  road  from  the  castle  of  An- 
tonia  to  Calvary.  He  advanced  to  the 
Centurion  and  brought  to  him  the  order 
that  he  should  quickly  come  to  Pilate. 

The  Centurion  then  questioned  the  mes- 
senger to  learn  what  Pilate  wanted  of  him 
at  so  late  an  hour  of  the  night.  The  mes- 
senger answered,  that  Pilate  desired  to 
know  if  Jesus  was  indeed  dead. 

**So  he  is/'  said  the  Centurion;  *^ there- 
fore we  have  not  broken  his  bones. ' ' 

To  be  the  more  sure  of  it,  *one  of  the  sol- 
diers stuck  his  spear  into  the  body  in  such 
manner  that  it  passed  over  the  hip  and  into 
the  side.  The  body  showed  no  convulsions, 
and  this  was  taken  by  the  Centurion  as  a 
sure  sign  that  he  actually  was  dead;  and 
he  hurriedly  went  away  to  make  his  report. 

But  from  the  insignificant  wound  flowed 
blood  and  water,  at  which  John  wondered, 
and  my  own  hope  revived.  For  even  John 
knew,  from  the  knowledge  of  our  Brother- 
hood, that  from  a  wound  in  a  dead  body 
flows  nothing  but  a  few  drops  of  thickened 

72  The  Crucifixion 

blood ;  but  now  there  flowed  both  water  and 

I  was  deeply  anxious  that  Joseph  and 
Nicodemus  should  return.  At  last  some 
Galilean  women  were  seen  approaching  on 
their  return  from  Bethania,  whither  they 
had  brought  Mary,  the  mother  of  Jesus,  in 
the  care  of  the  Esseer  friends. 

And  among  the  women  was  also  Mary, 
the  sister  of  Lazarus,  who  had  loved  Jesus, 
and  she  wept  loudly.  But  before  she  could 
pour  out  her  grief,  and  while  John  was 
gazing  intently  at  the  wound  in  Jesus '  side, 
heeding  naught  else,  Joseph  and  Nicode- 
mus returned  in  great  haste.  Joseph 
through  his  dignity  had  moved  Pilate,  and 
Pilate,  having  received  information  as  to 
the  death  of  the  crucified,  gave  the  body  to 
Joseph,  and  without  taking  pay  therefor. 

For  Pilate  had  a  great  reverence  for 
Joseph,  and  secretly  repented  of  the  execu- 
tion. A¥hen  Nicodemus  saw  the  wound, 
flowing  with  water  and  blood,  his  eyes  were 
animated  with  new  hope,  and  he  spoke  en- 

The  Letter  73 

couragingly,  foreseeing  what  was  to 

He  drew  Joseph  aside  to  where  I  stood, 
some  distance  from  John,  and  spoke  in  a 
low,  hurried  tone:  **Dear  friends,  be  of 
good  cheer,  and  let  us  to  work.  Jesus  is 
not  dead.  He  seems  so  only  because  his 
strength  is  gone. ' ' 

**  While  Joseph  was  with  Pilate  I  hur- 
ried over  to  our  colony  and  fetched  the 
herbs  that  are  useful  in  such  cases.  But  I 
admonish  you  that  you  tell  not  John  that 
we  hope  to  reanimate  the  body  of  Jesus, 
lest  he  could  not  conceal  his  great  joy. 
And  dangerous  indeed  would  it  be  if  the 
people  should  come  to  know  it,  for  our 
enemies  would  then  put  us  all  to  death  with 

After  this  they  hurried  to  the  cross,  and, 
according  to  the  prescriptions  of  the  medi- 
cal art,  they  slowly  untied  his  bonds,  drew 
the  spikes  out  from  his  hands,  and  with 
great  care  laid  him  on  the  ground. 

Thereupon,    Nicodemus    spread    strong 

74  The  Crucifixion 

spices  and  healing  salves  on  long  pieces  of 
**byssus''  which  he  had  brought,  and  whose 
use  was  known  only  in  our  Order. 

These  he  wound  about  Jesus '  body,  pre- 
tending that  he  did  so  to  keep  the  body 
from  decaying  until  after  the  feast,  when 
he  would  then  embalm  it. 

These  spices  and  salves  had  great  heal- 
ing powers,  and  were  used  by  our  Esseer 
Brethren  who  knew  the  rules  of  medical 
science  for  the  restoration  to  consciousness 
of  those  in  a  state  of  death-like  fainting. 
And  even  as  Joseph  and  Nicodemus  were 
bending  over  his  face  and  their  tears  fell 
upon  him,  they  blew  into  him  their  own 
breath,  and  warmed  his  temples. 

Still  Joseph  was  doubtful  of  his  recovery 
to  life,  but  Nicodemus  encouraged  him  to 
increase  their  efforts.  Nicodemus  spread 
balsam  in  both  the  nail-pierced  hands,  but 
he  believed  that  it  was  not  best  to  close  up 
the  wound  in  Jesus'  side,  because  he  con- 
sidered the  flow  of  blood  and  water  there- 
from helpful  to  respiration  and  beneficial 
in  the  renewing  of  life. 

The  Letter  75 

In  the  midst  of  his  grief  and  sorrow, 
John  did  not  believe  that  life  would  return 
to  the  body  of  his  friend,  and  he  did  not 
hope  to  see  him  again  until  they  should 
meet  in  ^  *  School. ' ' 

The  body  was  then  laid  in  the  sepulchre 
made  in  the  rocks,  which  belonged  to 
Joseph.  They  then  smoked  the  grotto 
with  aloe  and  other  strengthening  herbs, 
and  while  the  body  lay  upon  the  bed  of 
moss,  still  stiff  and  inanimate,  they  placed 
a  large  stone  in  front  of  the  entrance, 
that  the  vapors  might  better  fill  the  grotto. 

This  done,  John,  with  some  others,  went 
to  Bethania,  to  comfort  his  grief-stricken 

But  Caiaphas,  although  it  was  the  Sab- 
bath day,  had  sent  out  his  secret  spies.  He 
was  anxious  to  know  who  were  the  secret 
friends  of  Jesus.  His  suspicions  had  fallen 
upon  Pilate  because  of  his  having  given 
Joseph  of  Arimathea  the  body  without  any 
pay,  he  being  rich,  a  Eabbi  and  member 
of  the  high  council,  who  never  had  ap- 
peared to  take  any  interest  in  the  case  of 

76  The  Crucifixion 

Jesus  previously,  but  who  now  had  given 
his  own  place  of  burial  for  the  crucified. 

And  so  it  was  that  Caiaphas  anticipated 
secret  plans  between  the  rich  Joseph  and 
the  Galileans,  and  knowing  that  they  in- 
tended to  embalm  the  body,  he  hoped  there 
to  catch  them,  as  the  idea  had  occurred  to 
him  that  Joseph  and  Pilate  were  plotting 
against  the  Jews. 

Fear  of  this  caused  him  great  anxiety, 
and  for  this  reason  he  hoped  to  discover 
some  secret  means  of  accusing  Joseph  and 
having  him  thrown  into  prison.  He  be- 
trayed this  fact  himself  by  sending  late  in 
the  night  a  number  of  his  armed  servants 
to  an  obscure  valley  close  by  the  grotto  in 
which  lay  the  body  of  Jesus.  Some  dis- 
tance from  them  was  stationed  a  detach- 
ment of  the  temple  guard,  to  assist  the 
servants  of  the  high-priest,  if  necessary. 

But  the  rumor  has  told  you  that  this 
guard  were  Roman  soldiers,  which  was  not 
the  case.  The  high-priost  even  distrusted 

The  Letter  77 

Meanwhile  Nicodemus  had  hastened 
with  me  to  our  brethren,  and  the  oldest 
and  wisest  came  to  confer  as  to  the  best 
means  of  restoring  Jesus  to  life.  And  the 
brethren  agreed  immediately  to  send  a 
guard  to  the  grove.  Joseph  and  Nicode- 
mus hurried  to  the  city,  there  to  fulfil  their 
further  mission. 

After  midnight,  and  towards  morning, 
the  earth  again  commenced  to  shake,  and 
the  air  became  very  oppressive.  The  rocks 
shook  and  cracked.  Ked  flames  burst  forth 
from  the  crevices,  illuminating  the  red 
mists  of  the  morning. 

This  was,  indeed,  a  dreadful  night. 
Beasts,  horrified  by  the  earthquake,  ran 
howling  and  crying  in  every  direction. 
Through  the  narrow  opening  the  little  lamp 
in  the  grotto  threw  trembling  shadows  into 
the  horrible  night,  and  the  servants  of 
the  high-priest  were  full  of  fear,  listening 
to  the  hissing  in  the  air  and  the  roaring 
and  rumbling  in  the  earth. 

One  of  our  brethren  went  to  the  grave, 

78  The  Crucifixion 

in  obedience  to  the  order  of  the  Brother- 
hood, dressed  in  the  white  robe  of  the 
fourth  degree.  He  went  by  way  of  a  secret 
path  which  ran  through  the  mountain  to 
the  grave,  and  which  was  known  only  to 
the  Order. 

•  When  the  timid  servants  of  the  high- 
priest  saw  the  white-robed  Brother  on  the 
mountain  slowly  approaching,  and  partial- 
ly obscured  by  the  morning  mist,  they  were 
seized  with  a  great  fear,  and  they  thought 
that  an  angel  was  descending  from  the 

When  this  Brother  arrived  at  the  grave 
which  he  was  to  guard,  he  rested  on  the 
stone  which  he  had  pulled  from  the  en- 
trance according  to  his  orders ;  whereupon 
the  soldiers  fled  and  spread  the  report  that 
an  angel  had  driven  them  away. 

When  the  Esseer  youth  had  set  himself 
down  upon  the  stone,  there  came  a  new 
earth-shock,  and  a  draft  of  air  passing 
down  the  grotto  blew  out  the  lamp  and 
gave  place  for  the  morning  light. 

The  Letter  79 

Thirty  hours  had  now  passed  since  the 
assumed  death  of  Jesus.  And  when  the 
Brother,  having  heard  a  slight  noise  within 
the  grotto,  went  in  to  observe  what  had 
happened,  he  smelled  a  strange  odor  in  the 
air,  such  as  often  occurs  when  the  earth  is 
about  to  vomit  forth  fire. 

And  the  youth  observed  with  inexpressi- 
ble joy  that  the  lips  of  the  body  moved,  and 
that  it  breathed.  He  at  once  hastened  to 
Jesus  to  assist  him,  and  heard  slight 
sounds  rising  from  his  breast.  The  face 
assumed  a  living  appearance,  and  the  eyes 
opened  and  in  astonishment  gazed  at  the 
novice  of  our  Order. 

This  occurred  just  as  I  was  leaving  with 
the  brethren  of  the  first  degree,  from  the 
council,  with  Joseph,  who  had  come  to  con- 
sult how  to  bring  help. 

Nicodemus,  who  was  an  experienced  phy- 
sician, said,  on  the  way,  that  the  peculiar 
condition  of  the  atmosphere  caused  by  the 
revolution  of  the  elements  was  beneficial  to 
Jesus,  and  that  he  never  had  believed  that 

80  The  Crucifixion 

Jesus  really  was  dead.  And  he  further 
said  that  the  blood  and  water  which  flowed 
from  the  wound  was  a  sure  sign  that  life 
was  not  extinct. 

Conversing  thus,  we  arrived  at  the  grot- 
to, Joseph  and  Nicodemus  going  before. 
We  were  in  all  twenty-four  brethren  of  the 
first  degree. 

Entering,  we  perceived  the  white-robed 
novice  kneeling  upon  the  moss-strewn 
floor  of  the  grotto,  supporting  the  head  of 
the  revived  Jesus  on  his  breast. 

And  as  Jesus  recognized  his  Esseer 
friends,  his  eyes  sparkled  with  joy;  his 
cheeks  were  tinted  with  a  faint  red,  and  he 
sat  up,  asking:  *^ Where  am  If 

Then  Joseph  embraced  him,  folded  him 
in  his  arms,  told  him  how  it  all  had  come 
to  pass,  and  how  he  was  saved  from  actual 
death  by  a  profound  fainting  fit,  which  the 
soldiers  on  Calvary  had  thought  was  death. 

And  Jesus  wondered,  and  felt  on  him- 
self; and,  praising  God,  he  wept  on  the 
breast  of  Joseph.    Then  Nicodemus  urged 


The  Letter  81 

his  friend  to  take  some  refreshments,  and 
he  ate  some  dates  and  some  bread  dipped 
in  honey.  And  Nicodemus  gave  wine  to 
drink,  after  which  Jesus  was  greatly  re- 
freshed, so  that  he  raised  himself  up. 

Then  it  was  that  he  became  conscious  of 
the  wounds  in  his  hands  and  in  his  side. 
But  the  balsam  which  Nicodemus  had 
spread  upon  them  had  a  soothing  effect, 
and  they  had  already  commenced  to  heal. 

After  the  *^byssus''  wrappings  had  been 
taken  off  and  the  muckender  was  removed 
from  his  head,  Joseph  spoke  and  said; 
**This  is  not  a  place  in  which  to  remain 
longer,  for  here  the  enemies  might  easily 
discover  our  secret,  and  betray  us.'' 

But  Jesus  was  not  yet  strong  enough  to 
walk  far,  wherefore  he  was  conducted  to 
the  house  belonging  to  our  Order,  that  is 
close  by  Calvary,  in  the  garden,  which  also 
belongs  to  our  brethren. 

Another  young  Brother  of  our  Order 
was  dispatched  at  once  to  assist  the  novice 
who  had  been  watching  by  the  grave  of 


82  The  Crucifixion 

Jesus,  to  annihilate  every  trace  of  the 
byssus  wrappings  and  the  medicines  and 
drugs  used. 

When  Jesus  arrived  at  the  house  of  our 
brethren  he  was  faint  and  weak.  His 
wounds  had  begun  to  cause  him  pain.  He 
was  much  moved,  in  that  he  considered  it 
all  as  a  miracle. 

'  *  God  has  let  me  rise, ' '  he  said,  ^  *  that  he 
may  prove  in  me  that  which  I  have  taught, 
and  I  will  show  my  disciples  that  I  do  live. ' ' 

And  after  a  little  while  the  two  young 
men  who  had  gone  to  put  the  grave  in 
order,  came  hurriedly  back  and  brought 
the  message  that  the  friends  of  Jesus  soon 
would  come  to  seek  him. 

And  they  related  how  they  had  heard  a 
noise,  when  at  work  in  the  grotto,  as  of 
many  people  coming  to  the  fence  that  sur- 
rounds the  garden.  When  they  had  retired 
yet  further  into  the  grotto,  there  came  a 
woman  on  the  road  from  Jerusalem,  and 
when  she  saw  that  the  stone  had  been 
rolled  away  from  the  grave  she  manifested 

The  Letter  83 

great  fear.  She  thought  that  something 
had  happened  to  the  body,  and  hurried 
away  to  Bethlehem. 

But  soon  thereafter  other  women  came 
from  Jerusalem,  and  approached  the 
grave.  Wondering  greatly,  they  had  en- 
tered the  grave,  and  one  of  them,  on  look- 
ing for  the  body  in  the  place  where  it  had 
lain,  beheld  our  Brother,  and  in  terror 
pointed  him  out  to  her  companions.  When 
the  other  Brother  also  came  in  view,  the 
women  fell  upon  their  faces,  and  thought 
they  had  beheld  angels. 

And  the  brethren  spoke  to  them  as  they 
had  been  ordered  by  those  of  the  first  de- 
gree, and  one  of  them  said  to  the  women : 
**  Jesus  is  risen.  Do  not  look  for  him  here. 
Say  to  his  disciples  that  they  will  find  him 
in  Galilee."  And  the  other  told  them  to 
gather  the  disciples  and  conduct  them  to 

This  was  devised  by  the  wisdom  of  Jo- 
seph, for  he  would  not  that  they  should 
look  for  Jesus  at  Jerusalem,  for  his  safe- 

84  The  Crucifixion 

ty's  sake.  And  the  brethren  went  out  of 
the  cavern  by  the  rear  entrance,  and  ob- 
served that  some  of  the  women  hastened 
on  the  road  to  Bethania,  whereupon  the 
young  Brothers  hurried  to  us  in  the  house 
to  tell  us  of  what  had  come  to  pass. 

Thus  the  Esseer  friends  pleaded  with 
Jesus  to  remain  in  concealment,  for  his 
safety's  sake,  and  to  recover  his  strength. 
But  Jesus  was  moved  by  a  great  desire  to 
prove  to  his  friends  that  he  still  lived.  Im- 
pelled by  this  desire,  and  feeling  himself 
refreshed  and  strengthened,  he  asked  for 
clothes,  that  he  might  go  forth  among  his 
friends.  He  was  immediately  clothed  in 
the  Esseer  working-garb,  such  as  our 
brethren  wear  when  at  work.  In  this  dress 
he  appeared  as  a  gardener. 

In  the  meantime  the  two  young  Brothers 
had  gone  again  to  the  grave,  as  their  work 
there  was  not  yet  completed.  While  there 
they  saw  the  same  woman  return  who  came 
first  to  the  grave,  as  John  and  Peter  mean- 
while had  made  known  among  the  disciples 
what  had  come  to  pass. 

The  Letter  85 

This  woman,  thus  returning  to  the  grave, 
thought  the  two  novices  were  angels  guard- 
ing the  empty  grave,  and  she  wept. 

One  of  the  novices,  of  kindly  disposition, 
in  a  gentle  and  soothing  voice  spoke  to  the 
woman  and  asked  her  why  she  wept.  This 
woman  was  Mary,  whom  Jesus  had  loved 
and  had  been  obliged  to  leave  in  accordance 
with  the  laws  of  our  holy  Brotherhood. 

And  as  she  was  lamenting  that  Jesus  did 
not  lie  where  he  had  been  placed  before  the 
Sabbath,  Jesus  stood  behind  her,  dressed  in 
the  garb  of  a  gardener. 

Animated  by  the  desire  to  see  again  those 
he  loved,  and  to  proclaim  to  them  that  he 
still  lived,  he  had  disregarded  the  advice 
of  the  brethren  that  he  remain  in  conceal- 
ment, and,  leaving  the  house,  he  had  taken 
the  path  through  the  garden  to  the  rock 
where  the  grave  was  hewn. 

When  Mary  saw  him  she  thought  him  to 
be  the  gardener.  But  Jesus  knew  her,  and 
rejoicing  in  her  love  he  spoke  to  her.  Still, 
in  his  weak  and  suffering  condition,  she  did 

86  The  Crucifixion 

not  know  him.  But  when  he  exclaimed, '  *  0 
Mary!"  she  knew  him  and  longed  to  kiss 
his  feet  and  thereafter  embrace  him. 

But  Jesus,  feeling  the  pain  in  his  hands 
and  side,  feared  to  embrace  her  lest  he 
might  thereby  injure  his  wounds.  He  there- 
fore moved  back  from  her  as  she  ap- 
proached, and  said : 

*  *  Touch  me  not.  Though  I  still  live,  yet 
soon  shall  I  go  to  my  Father  in  heaven ;  for 
my  body  is  become  feeble  and  soon  shall  be 
dissolved,  that  my  death  may  be  fulfilled.'' 

As  the  woman  knelt  down,  and  with  great 
excitement  fixed  her  eyes  upon  him,  Jesus 
heard  the  sound  of  approaching  footsteps, 
and,  careful  for  his  safety,  hastened  back, 
placing  himself  behind  the  garden  wall  not 
far  from  the  garden  of  our  friends. 

And  the  two  youths  who  were  charged  to 
guard  the  grave,  and  who  had  been  in- 
structed to  thwart  the  enemies'  spies  who 
were  seeking  to  find  Jesus,  had  seen  and 
heard  all  this. 

Meanwhile  Joseph,  Nicodemus  and  the 

The  Letter  87 

other  brethren  had  come  from  the  house 
into  the  garden  to  look  after  Jesus  and  take 
due  care  that  he  was  not  in  peril  because  of 
his  great  weakness.  This  Nicodemus  feared 
inasmuch  as  he  had  seen  that  the  wounds 
were  more  inflamed  and  the  flesh  where  the 
strong  cords  had  been  was  now  dark  of 

When  we  had  arrived  at  the  entrance  of 
the  garden  we  beheld  Jesus  standing  behind 
the  wall  and  resting  against  it  as  if  he  could 
go  no  further. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  John  hastened 
from  the  city,  and  looking  into  the  grotto 
had  found  it  vacant.  For  the  two  youths 
had  made  their  way  to  our  garden  through 
the  secret  entrance  to  the  grotto. 

Peter  also  arrived,  and  both  together 
searched  throughout  the  grotto  for  signs  of 
the  body.  Entering  the  inner  part  of  the 
grotto  they  found  the  muckender  where  the 
novices  had  thrown  it,  whence  they  had  fled 
at  the  arrival  of  these  two  strange  persons. 

In  earnest  conversation  the  two  disciples 
hurried  back  into  the  city. 

88  The  Crucifixion 

And  Jesus  had  slowly  walked  along  the 
wall  until  he  had  reached  the  little  gate  that 
opens  to  the  valley  of  Mount  ^^Grihon." 
There  he  listened  to  the  conversation  of 
some  women  outside  the  wall.  When  he 
came  forth  and  the  women  had  beheld  him 
they  believed  that  they  had  seen  an  appari- 
tion. But  Jesus  spoke  to  them  in  order  that 
they  might  know  that  it  was  indeed  him- 

And  inasmuch  as  the  youth  in  the  grove 
had  said  to  the  women  that  in  Galileo  they 
should  see  him,  one  of  them  rememjered 
this  and  said  to  him :  '  *  Lord,  shall  we  obey 
the  word  of  the  angel,  and  see  thee  again 
in  Galilee  r' 

This  question  astonished  Jesus,  for  he 
did  not  know  that  the  brethren  had  in- 
structed the  novice  to  mention  that  part  of 
the  country.  But  after  consideration  he  an- 
swered her  and  said:  ''Yes,  inform  my 
friends  and  tell  them  that  I  go  to  Galilee 
and  there  you  shall  see  me." 

His  weakness  being  increased,  he  desired 

The  Letter  89 

to  be  left  alone,  and  the  women  departed. 
And  then  it  was  that  we,  his  secret  protect- 
ors, went  to  him  and  conducted  him  back 
to  the  house  that  he  might  there  rest  and 
be  refreshed. 

Nicodemus  again  tied  up  his  wounds, 
gave  him  a  medical  draught  and  admon- 
ished him  to  rest  himself  in  quiet.  But 
Jesus  feared  not  death,  and  was  buoyant  of 
spirit.  Nevertheless  his  strength  was  gone, 
and  he  soon  fell  into  a  profound  sleep, 
whereupon  Joseph,  Nicodemus  and  the 
brethren  counseled  together  as  to  how  they 
might  care  for  his  safety.  For  this  pur- 
pose they  sent  some  of  the  brethren  into 
the  city  that  they  might  learn  the  rumors 
of  Jesus  among  the  people. 

And  strangely  the  rumors  had  told  of 
many  miracles  in  the  city.  The  fleeing 
guards  having  tried  to  conceal  their  cow- 
ardly fear,  had  circulated  reports  of  terri- 
ble events  that  had  come  to  pass,  and  of 
spirits  that  had  burst  open  the  grave. 

And  the  high-priest  had  been  told  of 

90  The  Crucifixion 

these  things,  and  he  knew  not  what  to 
think.  He  feared  lest  the  miracle  would 
excite  the  people,  for  the  women,  and  even 
the  men,  had  been  too  excited  thereby  to 
keep  it  a  secret,  and  the  people  already 
were  busy  discussing  the  subject. 

Therefore,  Caiaphas  gave  the  guard 
money,  that  they  should  report  that  his 
friends  had  stolen  the  corpse,  that  they 
(the  disciples)  might  say  he  was  risen,  and 
thus  delude  the  people. 

And  all  day  Jesus  remained  in  his  pro- 
found slumber,  and  was  thereby  filled  with 
renewed  life.  It  was  evening  when  he 
awakened.  His  wounds  were  now  less  pain- 
ful, inasmuch  as  the  balsam  which  Nico- 
demus  applied  had  produced  a  soothing  ef- 
fect. He  was  in  good  spirit,  and  with 
thankful  heart  he  saw  that  his  friends 
watched  over  him.  Without  assistance  he 
rose  from  his  couch,  and,  being  hungry, 
asked  that  he  might  have  food. 

Having  refreshed  himself,  he  said: 
*^Now  that  I  am  strong  again  it  behooves 

The  Letter  91 

me  that  I  no  longer  remain  in  concealment. 
For  a  teacher  should  be  among  his  people, 
and  a  son  embrace  his  mother.'' 

Joseph  answered  him  and  said:  *^The 
Brotherhood  is  father  and  mother  to  thee 
now,  according  to  its  promise  to  thee,  and 
it  is  therefore  the  duty  of  the  Brotherhood 
to  protect  thee  as  its  beloved  child. ' ' 

And  Jesus  said:  *^I  fear  not  death,  for 
I  have  fulfilled  it,  and  the  enemies  shall 
acknowledge  that  God  has  saved  me,  and 
wills  not  that  I  die  eternally." 

Then  one  of  the  elders  of  the  Brother- 
hood said:  **Thou  art  not  safe  in  this 
country,  for  they  will  search  after  thee. 
Do  not,  therefore,  go  any  more  among  the 
people  to  teach,  for  what  thou  hast  taught 
will  live  among  thy  friends  forever,  and 
thy  disciples  will  publish  it  to  the  world. 
Eemain,  I  pray  thee,  dead  to  the  world. 
The  Brotherhood  has  brought  thee  back  to 
life  through  its  secrets,  therefore  live 
henceforth  for  our  holy  Order  to  which 
thou  art  bound.    Live  in  the  seclusion  of 

92  The  Crucifixion 

wisdom  and  virtue,  unknown  to  the  world. 
"We  will  secretly  teach  and  assist  the  dis- 
ciples among  the  people,  and  they  shall  re- 
ceive encouragement  and  help  from  the 
holy  Brotherhood.  And  if  the  time  shall 
come  when  thou  shouldst  again  go  out 
among  the  people,  we  will  send  for  thee 
and  inform  thee.'' 

But  Jesus,  in  the  ardor  of  his  sacred  en- 
thusiasm, said :  *  *  The  voice  of  God  is  more 
powerful  within  me  than  is  the  fear  of 
death.  I  will  see  my  disciples  once  more, 
and  will  go  to  Galilee. ' ' 

Then  the  elder  said:  **Be  it  so,  as  God 
has  called  you;  but  it  behooves  men  that 
they  be  wise  and  cautious  in  good  things. 
Therefore,  some  of  our  brethren  shall  go 
with  thee,  and  protect  thee  through  the 
power  of  our  connections  in  Galilee." 

But  Nicodemus  did  not  approve  of  this 
journey,  for  he  knew  that  the  body  of  Je- 
sus was  weakened,  though  his  soul  was 
strong  in  its  courage.  And  the  faithful 
physician  therefore  entreated  him  not  to 

The  Letter  93 

go  lest  he  thereby  make  impossible  his  re- 

But  Jesus  answered:  **Be  it  fulfilled 
that  is  to  be."  And  Joseph  wondered 
greatly  at  the  spirit  of  Jesus,  and  more 
than  ever  believed  in  his  great  promises. 

When  evening  had  come  Jesus  started  on 
his  journey,  and  he  wished  to  go  alone. 
It  being  cold,  the  brethren  gave  him  a  warm 
mantle  in  which  he  wrapped  himself  that 
the  officers  of  the  city  might  not  recognize 

And  the  brethren  admonished  him  to 
stop  only  with  the  Esseer  friends,  and  be- 
cause of  the  feast  not  to  travel  on  the  high- 
way. Therefore  Jesus  was  persuaded  to 
go  by  the  way  of  Bethania  and  the  Ephra- 
imitical  mountain,  where  Samaria  borders 
on  upper  Galilee  to  the  north. 

Jesus  went  forth  upon  his  journey,  and 
when  he  was  gone  the  brethren  blessed  his 
undertaking;  but,  advised  by  Joseph,  they 
sent  a  novice  to  follow  him  and  on  the  way 
secretly  inform  the  Esseer  friends. 

94  The  Crucifixion 

Of  all  that  has  come  to  pass  our  friends 
have  kept  us  fully  informed. 

While  Jesus  was  journeying  on  the  road 
to  Emmaus,  a  few  hours '  travel  hence,  his 
soul  was  filled  with  inspirations  over  the 
new  life,  and  he  spoke  in  a  loud  voice,  so 
that  our  messenger  could  hear  that  it  was 
of  the  prophecies  of  Daniel  he  was  speak- 

Two  men  were  traveling  the  same  road 
from  Jerusalem,  and  as  they  walked  more 
rapidly  than  Jesus,  they  soon  overtook  him. 

Jesus  said  to  them:  ^* Peace  be  with 
you."  At  first  he  believed  them  to  be  Es- 
seer  friends,  but  soon  thereafter  he  rec- 
ognized them  as  two  of  his  own  friends 
from  among  the  people,  who  often  had 
heard  him  teach.  They  gave  no  heed  to 
the  quiet  traveler.  But  he  heard  them 
speak  of  his  death,  and  of  the  deep  de- 
spair of  his  disciples.  And  from  their 
words  he  conceived  that  his  doctrine  and 
his  teachings  were  in  danger  of  being  de- 
stroyed and  lost,  by  reason  of  the  despair 

The  Letter  95 

of  his  friends,  who  were  without  a  leader 
to  keep  them  from  being  scattered. 

When  one  of  these  travelers  lamented 
that  the  prophecy  had  not  been  fulfilled 
and  that  Jesus  had  not  risen  from  the  dead, 
Jesus  spoke  with  ardor,  and  the  two  dis- 
ciples were  greatly  interested  in  what  he 
said,  for  it  appeared  to  them  that  they 
had  heard  the  same  teachings  before. 

At  the  place  in  their  journey  where  the 
two  disciples  stopped  they  detained  Jesus 
when  he  desired  to  go  farther  on  alone  and 
in  the  night  time.  And  at  the  common 
feast  of  love,  in  the  house  where  they  had 
stopped,  the  two  disciples  recognized  Je- 
sus; but  he  did  not  wish  to  be  known  in 
this  place.  He  therefore,  unobserved, 
passed  out  through  the  door  and  went  to 
the  house  of  the  Esseer  friend  to  whom 
he  had  been  recommended. 

Meanwhile  the  two  disciples  retraced 
their  steps  to  Jerusalem  to  carry  to  their 
friends  there  the  news  of  the  risen  one. 
Here  they  found  Peter,  and  with  him  John. 

96  The  Crucifixion 

But  the  Esseer  friends  met  together  and 
counseled  what  they  were  further  to  do. 
There  was  with  them  also  the  youth  that 
our  Order  had  sent  to  follow  Jesus. 

And  Jesus  conceived  that  he  immediately 
must  return  to  Jerusalem  to  reanimate  the 
hope  of  his  friends  and  correct  the  report 
given  out  by  the  two  disciples  who  so  hur- 
riedly had  returned  to  Jerusalem. 

The  Esseer  friend  gave  him  a  beast  of 
burden  that  he  might  mount  and  thus 
travel  the  more  easily,  and  the  novice  whom 
we  had  sent  accompanied  him  and  walked 
by  the  side  of  the  animal. 

And  thus  it  came  to  pass  that,  soon  after 
the  arrival  of  the  disciples,  Jesus  came  to 
the  well-known  home  where  our  friends 
used  to  meet  together.  Jesus  gave  the 
sign  by  which  the  bar  fell  from  the  door 
by  the  hand  of  the  doorkeeper,  for  the  dis- 
ciples were  then  in  secret  council. 

When  Jesus  heard  how  his  followers 
spoke  of  his  resurrection,  and  were  consid- 
ering if  it  were  possible,  he  came  forward 

The  Letter  97 

among  them,  and  as  they  did  not  know  him 
at  first,  they  were  alarmed,  not  knowing 
that  the  door  had  been  opened. 

But  Jesus  spoke  to  them,  comforted 
them,  and  proved  to  them  that  he  was 
really  flesh  and  .bones.  Thereupon  they 
joyously  surrounded  him,  touched  his 
hands,  and  Jesus  leaned  upon  the  breast 
of  John,  being  faint  from  the  fatigue  of 
the  journey. 

After  he  had  rested  Jesus  still  more  fully 
proved  to  his  friends  that  he  lived  as  do 
other  people,  by  asking  for  food.  Inas- 
much as  the  friends  had  already  eaten, 
there  was  left  some  bread,  honey  and  fish, 
of  which  he  ate  and  refreshed  himself. 

Thereupon  he  admonished  them  that  they 
fulfil  the  work  he  had  undertaken  and  not 
give  up  but  be  of  good  cheer.  And  he 
blessed  them  and  said  to  them  that  he  could 
not  disclose  to  them  where  he  should  go, 
and  that  he  should  go  alone,  but  that  when 
they  should  want  him  he  would  come  to 
them,  for  he  yet  had  much  to  say  to  them. 

98  The  Crucifixion 

Outside  the  door  the  novice  was  waiting 
with  the  animal,  and  when  Jesus  came  forth 
he  directed  the  novice  to  conduct  him  to 
the  quiet  dwelling  of  the  Esseers.  But  an- 
other Esseer  youth  had  come  to  seek  in- 
formation of  him  in  J-erusalem,  and  the 
two  now  carried  Jesus  between  them,  as 
he  was  still  weak  and  faint  from  the  fa- 
tigue he  had  endured  on  his  journey. 

After  much  effort  and  many  difficulties 
they  brought  him  in  the  night  time  to  the 
Brotherhood,  to  the  house  of  the  elder, 
which  is  located  a  few  stadis  from  Jeru- 
salem and  close  by  Olive  Mountain. 

Here  Jesus  was  placed  on  a  soft  bed  of 
moss,  where  he  soon  fell  into  a  profound 
slumber.  And  the  Esseer  youths  hastened 
to  Joseph,  Nicodemus  and  the  other  Esseer 
friends  to  inform  them  of  what  had  oc- 

Before  the  dawning  of  day  a  council  was 
held  that  they  might  further  protect  Jesus, 
he  having  returned  to  Jerusalem  so  openly, 
for  the  sake  of  the  holy  Spirit,  that  he 

The  Letter  99 

might  strengthen  his  followers  in  their 
work.  And  with  one  accord  they  deter 
mined  that  no  time  should  be  lost,  the 
priests  in  the  city  having  their  secret  spies 
who  were  trying  even  to  entrap  his  dis- 

It  was  in  council  agreed  that  he  immedi- 
ately must  depart  hence,  that  he  might  not 
be  discovered,  and  that  he  should  return 
to  the  quiet  valley  not  far  distant  from 
Jutha  and  the  castle  of  Masseda,  where 
there  is  a  wild  and  mountainous  country. 
Here  Jesus  had  lived  before,  together  with 
John  the  physician,  with  whom  he  was  ad- 
mitted to  the  holy  Order  of  our  Brethren. 
This  was  considered  also  a  safe  place  in 
that  many  Esseers  lived  there. 

While  they  yet  were  in  council  consid- 
ering, Jesus  awoke  from  his  refreshing 
slumbers,  and  wondered  greatly  to  see 
that  he  was  surrounded  by  his  brethren. 
But  Joseph  and  Nicodemus  beseeched  him 
that  he  save  himself  and  not  again  permit 
himself  to  fall  into  the  power  of  the  priests. 

100  The  Crucifixion 

Joseph  even  told  him  that  it  had  come  to 
him  that  Caiaphas  had  fixed  his  suspicions 
upon  him,  that  he,  with  the  Galileans, 
formed  a  secret  plot  to  overthrow  the  pres- 
ent condition  of  things,  and  that  Caiaphas 
would  demand  of  him  an  explanation  why- 
he  had  laid  Jesus  in  his  own  tomb. 

He  had  suspicion  even  on  Pilate  that 
he  had  secretly  contrived  with  me,  because 
that  he  had  given  the  supposed  corpse  to 
me  without  receiving  pay  therefor. 

And  as  Joseph  persuaded  Jesus,  with 
much  ardor,  to  comply  with  his  wishes,  and 
as  all  the  elders  supported  him,  Jesus  an- 
swered : 

**Be  it  so;  but  I  conjure  you  to  encour- 
age my  disciples.  Help  and  protect  them 
and  tell  them  that  they  shall  have  no 
doubts,  for  I  am  with  them  still  in  body 
and  spirit." 

And  Joseph  entreated  him  that  he  take 
further  rest,  as  Nicodemus  had  expressed 
fear  lest  the  excitement  and  enthusiasm 
of  Jesus  would  endanger  and  not  help  his 

The  Letter  101 

martyred  body.  For  even  if  the  wounds 
in  his  hands  were  beginning  to  heal,  and 
the  wound  in  his  side  emitted  no  more 
humor,  his  body  was  still  weak  and  easily 
affected  by  the  excitement  of  his  mind. 
But,  having  slept,  he  for  the  immediate 
present  felt  himself  refreshed. 

After  further  consideration  Jesus  said: 
**If  my  disciples  are  not  convinced  that 
I  really  live,  and  if  I  do  not  go  forth  among 
them,  they  will  think  me  an  apparition 
and  a  delusion  of  their  imagination.'' 

Joseph  answered  him  and  said:  **Let 
us  advance  John  to  the  higher  degrees  of 
our  Order,  that  he  may  be  convinced  of 
thy  living,  and  may  execute  thy  directions 
and  inform  the  other  disciples  concerning 

But  the  elders  of  the  brethren  were  not 
willing  that  John  should  be  admitted  into 
all  the  secrets,  inasmuch  as  he  was  yet 
only  in  the  lowest  degree,  and  they  feared 
that  in  his  ardor  he  might  inform  others 
that  Jesus  was  here. 

102  The  Crucifixion 

While  they  were  yet  in  council  consid- 
ering, a  novice  of  our  Order  arrived,  who 
had  been  sent  to  the  city.  He  reported  that 
John,  with  his  friends,  had  hastened  to 
Bethania  to  comfort  the  women  in  Lazarus' 
house,  and  inform  them  that  Jesus  was 
yet  alive  and  had  rested  upon  his  bosom. 

And  John  had  wondered  that  Jesus  had 
not  directed  him  to  go  to  Galilee,  as  he 
had  ordered  the  women  to  do.  He  did  not 
think,  therefore,  that  it  was  the  intention 
of  his  Master,  and  that  the  disciples  ought 
to  wait  for  coming  events. 

And  Jesus  remained  all  that  day  with 
the  Esseer  friends;  but  when  night  came 
on  we  all  departed  by  the  secret  road — 
Joseph,  Nicodemus  and  the  elders  of  the 
Order — and  having  passed  the  valley  of 
Eephaim,  we  arrived  at  Masseda  at  the 
breaking  of  day;  and  following  a  narrow 
path  known  only  to  the  Esseers,  we  came 
at  last  to  the  brethren  in  that  wild  valley. 

Here  the  elder  provided  for  Jesus.  And 
when  Joseph  and  we  others  were  about  to 

The  Letter  103 

depart  Jesus  gave  us  his  word  tliat  he 
would  remain  there  until  the  Father  should 
call  him  to  fulfil  his  mission. 

And  each  day  the  brethren  sent  a  mes- 
senger to  us  to  inform  us  of  the  health  of 
our  dearly  beloved  Brother.  And  we  were 
told  that  Jesus  had  rested  a  number  of 
days,  but  that  his  heart  was  sad  and  sorely 
afflicted  with  melancholy  thoughts. 

This  was  the  same  valley  where  he  had 
wandered  with  John,  his  beloved  compan- 
ion, and  with  whom  he  had  been  initiated 
into  our  holy  Order. 

And  Jesus  meditated  on  that  John  who, 
as  a  physician,  had  founded  a  school  and 
had  baptized,  had  been  slain  by  the  ene- 
mies, while  he  had  been  saved  by  the  hand 
of  God,  wherein  he  saw  the  command  of 
God  that  he  should  not  rest,  in  that  his 
body  had  been  restored  to  him  for  some 

By  this  thought  his  mind  was  oppressed 
and  overwrought,  and  as  he  came  to  the 
place  where  he  and  John  had  solemnly 

104  The  Crucifixion 

vowed  that  they  would  die  for  truth  and 
virtue,  he  felt  that  he  was  called  to  follow 
the  mission  in  the  cause  of  which  his 
friend  had  died. 

And  Jesus  went  every  day  to  this  blessed 
spot,  and  refreshed  his  body,  viewing  the 
splendors  of  nature.  And  he  selected  a 
place  whence  he  could  see  the  high  tower 
of  Masseda  toward  the  west,  shielded  from 
the  morning  and  the  noonday  sun  by  lofty 
mountains,  whilst  on  the  other  side  the 
view  was  unobstructed  and  he  could  see 
far  away  over  an  open  country  toward  the 
sea  and  the  valley  of  Sittim. 

But  the  elder  of  the  Brotherhood  left 
him  not  alone,  inasmuch  as  he  had  ob- 
served that  Jesus  often  would  lie  in  pro- 
found revery,  and  that  the  longing  to  be 
among  his  disciples  would  overcome  all 
care  for  his  own  safety. 

About  this  time  it  came  to  pass  that  our 
brethren  of  the  Brotherhood  in  Jerusalem 
remembered  the  promise  they  had  made  to 
Jesus  to  protect  his  disciples  and  strength^ 

The  Letter  105 

en  tliem  in  their  belief  in  the  resurrection 
of  their  Master.  It  had  come  to  them  that 
not  all  of  the  disciples  were  convinced  of 
the  resurrection  of  their  Master.  And  one 
of  them  that  doubted  was  Thomas,  a  deep 
thinker,  who  had  received  his  education 
from  the  Esseer  brethren.  Because  of  this, 
he  possessed  profound  knowledge  in  the 
secret  powers  and  processes  of  nature.  Ac- 
cording to  nature's  laws  he  explained  all 
the  things  that  had  come  to  pass,  and  he 
believed  that  there  was  no  miracle ;  for,  as 
an  Esseer,  he  was  raised  above  supersti- 

Jesus  confided  in  him  and  told  him  his 
mission,  and  Thomas  believed  in  him  and 
saw  that  his  mission  was  one  of  great  im- 
portance. This  Jesus  did  in  that  Thomas 
was  a  man  of  clear  vision  and  strong  rea- 
son, excitement  and  passion  being  unknown 
to  him ;  and  with  patience  and  great  perse- 
verance he  tried  all  things  before  his  mind 
would  be  convinced. 

And  when  the  disciples  were  together 

106  The  Crucifixion 

in  their  secret  place  of  meeting  Thomas 
was  with  them,  and  he  reasoned  with  them, 
not  believing  that  a  man  can  rise  from  the 

But  John  had  himself  seen  and  felt  Je- 
sus and  held  him  on  his  breast.  Neverthe- 
less, Thomas  would  not  be  convinced,  even 
though  he  believed  in  the  prophecies  of 
the  prophets  and  that  they  would  surely  be 

For,  dear  Brethren,  the  Jews  hoped  to 
see  the  Messias  come  in  the  manner  Elias 
had  proclaimed. 

And  as  our  Brotherhood  had  promised 
to  report  all,  especially  as  the  disciples 
themselves  did  not  agree,  it  was  to  be  feared 
that  their  ardor  in  the  good  cause  would 
diminish.  We  therefore  sent  two  youths 
to  the  valley  at  Masseda  to  inform  the 
brethren  that  they  might  counsel  with  Je- 

When  Jesus  heard  these  things  his  heart 
was  filled  with  a  great  desire  to  leave  the 
solitude  and  show  himself  once  more  to 
his  disciples. 

The  Letter  107 

And  as  the  messenger  had  reported  that 
Thomas  would  not  believe  that  Jesus  was 
still  alive,  except  he  could  feel  his  hands 
and  the  wound  in  his  side,  Jesus  no  longer 
could  restrain  his  desire,  and  even  the  elder 
counseled  him  to  go  and  convince  them. 

This  came  to  pass  on  the  seventh  day 
that  Jesus  had  been  in  concealment. 

And  thus  it  happened  that  our  brethren 
went  with  Jesus.  And  on  the  eighth  day, 
when  the  disciples  were  together  in  Jeru- 
salem, Jesus  went  forth  among  them,  and 
Thomas  was  convinced. 

Having  accomplished  this,  Jesus  spoke 
to  his  disciples  and  admonished  them,  for 
his  own  sake,  that  they  were  not  safe.  He 
also  exhorted  them  to  faith  and  to  be  of 
one  accord.  But  he  could  not  tell  them 
when  or  where  to  meet  him  in  Galilee,  in- 
asmuch as  he  had  first  to  consider  thereon. 

After  this  he  departed  from  them  in  the 
evening,  and  John  went  with  him.  And 
outside  the  house  there  was  an  Esseer 
youth  who  desired  to  commit  himself  to 

108  The  Crucifixion 

the  service  of  Jesus.  And  Jesus  sent  him 
to  report  that  he  was  in  Bethania. 

Thereupon  Jesus  crossed  Kidron  with 
John  as  his  companion.  The  night  was 
beautiful  and  clear,  and  the  moon  shed  a 
dim  radiance  over  the  scene. 

At  Gethsemane  Jesus  rested  by  the  wall 
and  spoke  with  John  of  his  martyrdom 
and  sufferings.  Having  received  informa- 
tion of  his  disciples,  he  sent  John  forward 
to  the  house  of  Lazarus  in  Bethania,  that 
he  might  announce  his  coming  and  learn  if 
he  there  would  be  safe. 

Immediately  thereafter  Jesus  went  into 
the  house  to  see  his  mother  and  his  friends. 

After  having  thanked  God  that  they 
were  permitted  once  more  to  see  each  oth- 
er, they  ate  and  refreshed  themselves  to- 
gether. On  the  following  day  he  remained 
with  them,  comforting  them  and  exhorting 
them  that  they  believe  in  the  truth.  He 
warned  them  of  their  false  expectations,  in 
that  they  had  come  to  think  that  he  would 
forever  remain  with  them. 

The  Letter  109 

He  told  them  that  it  now  was  time  that 
he  should  go,  as  the  night  was  at  hand.  He 
said  to  them  that  he  would  hasten  to  Gali- 
lee, there  to  strengthen  his  disciples  that 
they  persevere  in  the  good  work. 

But  even  while  Jesus  was  inBethania  dan- 
gers were  threatening  him.  Caiaphas,  the 
high-priest,  had  been  informed  that  Jesus 
had  been  seen  in  Jerusalem.  And  he  had 
spread  the  rumor  that  the  disciples  had 
stolen  the  body  of  Jesus,  and  had  invented 
a  miraculous  story. 

But  there  were  many  among  the  people 
in  the  city  who  believed  that  Jesus  had 
risen  by  the  hand  of  God,  and  these  com- 
menced to  complain  of  the  injustice  done 
to  him,  and  to  believe  in  his  doctrines. 

And  the  high-priest  feared  a  revolution 
among  the  people,  and  believed  that  the 
Galileans  were  intending  to  overthrow  the 
government  and  set  up  a  new  ruler.  He 
was  therefore  suspicious  and  watchful. 

In  the  evening  of  the  same  day  came 
Nicodemus  to  our  Brotherhood  and  brought 

110  The  Crucifixion 

to  us  the  information  that  Joseph  of  Ari- 
mathea  had  been  arrested,  and  that  they 
falsely  attributed  to  him  criminal  pur- 
poses, in  that  he  had  been  in  secret  associa- 
tion with  Jesus.  Whereupon  great  anxi- 
ety arose  among  our  brethren,  for  we 
feared  that  also  Jesus  had  been  arrested, 
inasmuch  as  he  had  not  been  seen  by  any 
of  us  since  the  evening  when  he  convinced 

Our  elders  thereupon  met  in  council, 
wherein  it  was  agreed  that  we  should 
search  for  Jesus,  and  use  all  efforts  to  lib- 
erate Joseph. 

Two  of  our  brethren  were  commissioned 
to  array  themselves  in  their  white  holiday- 
garb  and  search  for  Jesus  in  Bethania,  as 
Jesus  had  informed  the  Esseer  youth  that 
he  would  go  thither. 

And  as  they  came  to  Bethania  in  the 
evening,  and  in  the  moonlight  saw  the 
house  of  Lazarus  not  far  distant,  they  met 
with  a  man  on  the  secret  road  who  care- 
fully scanned  the  road.    But  the  Esseers 

The  Letter  111 

knew  him,  and  they  asked  of  him  if  Jesus 
was  at  his  house.  For  this  was  Lazarus, 
and  having  recognized  our  brethren,  he 
acknowledged  that  it  was  even  so,  and  that 
Jesus  intended  that  very  night  to  go  to 
Bethania,  and  therefore  he  had  examined 
the  secret  road  to  see  if  it  were  safe. 

The  brethren  were  conducted  into  the 
house.  Here,  in  a  small  secluded  room, 
they  spoke  with  Jesus.  And  when  the 
brethren  had  told  Jesus  of  the  arrest  and 
danger  of  Joseph,  Jesus  recommended  him 
to  the  protection  of  the  Order,  prayed  to 
God,  and  thereafter  sent  John  to  Jerusa- 
lem that  he  might  warn  his  disciples  of 
their  danger. 

Having  taken  leave  of  the  women,  we 
were  accompanied  by  Lazarus  as  far  as 
Gilgad.  Thence  he  went  further  on  alone 
in  the  night,  and  in  the  early  morning  he 
had  come  to  the  river  Jordan,  in  the  place 
where  through  John  he  was  baptized  by 
the  Order. 

Our  holy  Brotherhood  in  Jerusalem  was 

112  The  Crucifixion 

DOW  planning  how  to  liberate  Joseph, 
whereto  we  were  in  possession  of  many 
secret  means. 

And  John  had  warned  his  friends,  the 
disciples,  as  he  had  been  ordered.  And 
the  next  morning  they  went  in  great  num- 
bers to  the  border  of  Galilee.  Arriving 
there,  they  asked,  one  from  another: 
** Whither  shall  we  go!  Our  Master  has 
fixed  no  time  nor  place." 

And  they  thought  of  their  homes 
from  which  they  had  so  long  been  sepa- 
rated, and  as  they  were  considering 
whether  they  would  search  for  Jesus  in 
Nazareth  or  in  Capernaum,  Peter  said: 
**Let  us  provide  for  sustenance,  and  not 
be  idle ;  but  let  us  work  till  the  Master  shall 
call  us  to  a  higher  labor." 

After  hearing  what  Peter  had  said,  they 
resolved  to  resume  their  former  trades, 
and  Peter  repaired  to  Bethsaida,  where 
some  of  the  others  also  arrived  before 
many  days,  to  assist  him  and  receive  his 

The  Letter  113 

And  Peter  was  a  skillful  fisherman,  and 
he  invited  the  others  to  go  with  him  to 
sea  in  the  evening. 

Jesus  traveled  each  day  but  a  short  dis- 
tance, and  on  the  way  stopped  only  with 
the  Esseer  friends  who  lived  in  the  valleys. 
And  these  brethren  were  well  informed  by 
the  Brotherhood  in  Jerusalem  of  all  that 
happened  to  us,  and  from  these  Jesus 
learned  that  Joseph  had  been  liberated 
from  prison  and  was  on  the  way  to  meet 

And  when  Jesus  declared  that  he  would 
go  forth  in  Galilee  into  the  places  where 
he  had  been  known  before,  the  Esseer 
friends  entreated  him  that  he  should  not 
do  this,  and  explained  the  many  dangers 
that  were  about  him. 

And  Jesus  heeded  them,  and  reflected  as 
to  the  place  where  he  would  meet  with  his 
disciples.  And  he  selected  a  safe  and  lone- 
ly place  where  he  was  not  known  and  where 
there  was  opportunity  for  his  disciples  to 

114  The  Crucifixion 

But  the  Esseer  friends  had  been  advised 
by  the  elder  of  the  Brotherhood  in  Jeru- 
salem to  choose  for  a  place  of  meeting  the 
lonely  valley  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Karmel, 
for  the  country  is  beautiful,  and  there  live 
many  Esseers.  The  valleys  abound  in  pow- 
erful herbs,  and  the  odors  they  give  forth 
are  healthful  to  the  wanderer. 

From  this  place  our  Brotherhood  re- 
ceives the  herbs  its  physicians  use  in  medi- 
cines. The  clear  water  runs  sparkling 
from  the  rocks.  These  rocks  contain  many 
caverns  in  which  dwell  they  who  seek  the 

And  when  the  Esseer  brethren  advised 
Jesus  to  go  to  this  country,  he  remembered 
how  the  prophets  of  old  were  said  to  have 
lived  in  the  same  places,  Elias  as  well  as 

And  so  it  was  that  his  mind  was  made  up 
to  go  thither,  for  there  he  could  teach  his 
disciples  without  fear  that  his  enemies 
would  find  his  dwelling  place,  for  in  this 
country  lived  only  members  of  our  Order, 
our  brethren. 

The  Letter  115 

But  Jesus  desired  that  none  of  the  breth- 
ren should  accompany  him,  and  so  he  jour- 
neyed alone  the  road  to  Bethsaida,  there 
to  remain  with  Simon,  who  was  one  of  his 

Arriving  in  the  early  morning  at  the 
shore  of  the  Sea  of  Galilee,  he  there  found 
a  hut  which  Peter  had  built  for  his  own 
convenience  in  the  pursuit  of  his  trade. 
And  he  found  there  Peter,  and  with  him 
John,  and  they  were  fishing.  Here  Jesus 
refreshed  himself,  partaking  with  them  of 
the  feast  of  love.  Here  he  learned  that  all 
the  disciples  had  agreed  to  come  together 
in  Bethsaida  that  they  might  there  counsel 
together  what  to  do. 

But  Jesus  called  them  to  Mount  Karmel, 
as  he  had  promised  the  Esseers.  And  on 
the  evening  of  the  next  day  Jesus  again 
pursued  his  journey. 

Having  rested  and  refreshed  himself 
some  days  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Karmel, 
Jesus  was  prepared  to  teach  again.  Here 
his   disciples   came,   bringmg   with   them 

116  The  Crucifixion 

many  of  his  followers ;  for  here  in  this  lone- 
ly valley  they  were  safe  from  danger,  and 
the  account  of  the  resurrection  of  Jesus 
had  created  great  excitement  in  Galilee. 

But  many  of  those  who  came  were  moved 
only  by  the  spirit  of  wonder.  They  had 
come,  therefore,  to  see  Jesus  do  wonders 
and  perform  miracles.  Others  hoped  for 
the  coming  of  the  new  kingdom  of  Messias, 
and  the  deliverance  of  the  Jews  from  the 

Jesus  was  sorely  grieved  in  his  heart 
by  these  interpretations  of  his  mission,  for 
often  had  he  spoken  of  these  things,  saying 
to  his  disciples  that  it  was  not  meet  that 
the  Son  of  God  should  be  clothed  with 
worldly  power  and  splendor. 

But  the  Esseer  brethren  understood  and 
did  not  share  in  these  errors,  for  they  well 
knew  that  according  to  the  laws  of  the 
Order  which  he  had  vowed  to  keep,  our 
brethren  can  take  no  part  in  matters  of 
state,  nor  aspire  to  worldly  power. 

And  the  people,  desiring  much  to  see  Je- 

The  Letter  117 

sus,  were  informed  by  the  disciples  that 
the  meeting  would  take  place  early  in  the 

Jesus  descended  from  the  summit  of  the 
mountain,  where  the  fog  assumed  a  red- 
dish color  from  the  sun.  And  because  he 
wore  the  white  robe  of  the  Esseer  Order, 
the  people  believed  him  to  be  a  supernat- 
ural being,  and  they  threw  themselves 
down,  with  their  faces  to  the  ground.  And 
many  of  the  people  were  terrified,  and  drew 
aside  out  of  his  way. 

And  Jesus  spoke  with  a  loud  voice,  say- 
ing that  he  had  not  come  to  found  a  school, 
but  the  kingdom  of  God  on  earth,  through 
wisdom  and  virtue. 

And  he  instituted  baptism,  and  disclosed 
to  his  disciples  the  knowledge  he  had 
learned  from  the  elders,  how  to  heal  the 
sick,  determine  the  virtues  of  minerals  and 
herbs  as  medicines,  make  harmless  the  sav- 
age beasts,  counteract  the  destroying  ef- 
fects of  poison,  and  many  other  things. 

And  the  disciples  and  the  people  that 

118  The  Crucifixion 

had  come  with  them,  remained  many  days 
in  the  valley,  and  Jesus  taught  them  how 
they  should  live  and  preach  the  doctrine 
in  his  name. 

But  the  Esseer  brethren  were  informed 
by  the  elder  of  the  Brotherhood  in  Jeru- 
salem that  the  secret  messengers  of  the 
priests  and  the  grand  council  had  been 
told  of  the  excitement  in  Galilee,  and  that 
many  people  had  repaired  to  the  valley  of 
Mount  Karmel. 

And  the  brethren  warned  Jesus  of  his 
danger,  that  he  might  avoid  his  enemies 
and  thus  fulfil  his  mission.  For  they  had 
been  secretly  informed  that  Caiaphas  in- 
tended quietly  to  arrest  and  assassinate 
Jesus,  in  that  he  believed  him  to  be  a  de- 

Jesus  thereupon  sent  away  his  hearers 
and  told  them  that  if  they  would  speak 
with  him  thereafter  they  must  go  thence 
to  Bethabara,  where  he  would  await  them. 

Having  spoken  much  to  the  people  and 
taught  them,  he  was  weary  and  in  need  of 

The  Letter  119 

And  the  time  came  when  the  Esseers 
partake  of  their  feast  of  love.  And  all  the 
brethren  in  the  valley  assembled  in  the 
house  where  Jesus  dwelt.  Joseph  of  Ari- 
mathea  and  Nicodemus  and  we  the  elders 
of  the  Brotherhood  in  Jerusalem  departed 
to  be  together  with  him. 

But  Jesus  was  yet  weak  from  his  suffer- 
ing, and  his  great  joy  at  seeing  again  his 
beloved  friends,  Joseph  and  Nicodemus, 
caused  him  great  excitement.  And  he 
spoke  much  concerning  his  death. 

**Do  not  misapprehend  me  if  I  have  not 
in  everything  lived  according  to  the  rules 
of  our  Brotherhood.  For  if  I  had  labored  in 
secret,  as  you  have  done,  the  truth  would 
not  now  be  known  to  the  multitudes. 

**Even  in  public  can  the  wise  practice 
wisdom,  the  chosen  virtue." 

And  Jesus  exhorted  the  brethren  to  lay 
aside  their  secrecy  and  go  forth  among 
the  people,  and  unite  with  his  disciples  to 
teach  together  with  them. 

And  the  words  he  spoke  took  root  in  the 

120  The  Crucifixion 

hearts  of  many  of  the  brethren,  and  there- 
fore I  now  find  many  of  them  witness  for 
Jesus,  and  have  left  their  solitude. 

And  Joseph  spoke  to  Jesus,  saying: 

*^Knowest  thou  that  the  people  who  do 
not  altogether  understand  your  doctrine, 
are  meditating  to  proclaim  you  a  worldly 
king,  to  overthrow  the  Eomans  1  But  thou 
must  not  disturb  the  kingdom  of  God 
through  war  and  revolution.  Therefore 
choose  the  solitude.  Live  with  the  Esseer 
friends  and  be  in  safety,  that  your  doc- 
trine may  be  proclaimed  by  your  dis- 

But  the  elders  of  the  Brotherhood  were 
reflecting  that  it  would  cause  great  excite- 
ment among  the  people  if  Jesus  were  thus 
to  disappear  like  the  sun  in  the  evening, 
and  not  reappear. 

But  Jesus  feared  that  the  words  of  Jo- 
seph might  prove  true,  and  he  would  not 
suffer  that  blood  should  flow  for  his  sake, 
nor  that  revolution  should  cause  destruc- 

The  Letter  121 

Therefore  he  consented  that  he  would  go 
into  solitude,  his  body  being  very  weak. 
And  with  Joseph  and  Nicodemus  he  went 
to  Bethania.  On  the  way  they  conversed 
together  concerning  the  secrets  of  the 
Brotherhood;  and  Jesus  desired  to  take 
leave  of  his  friends  in  Bethania,  and  return 
to  the  lonely  country  near  the  Dead  Sea. 

In  Bethania  he  comforted  his  mother, 
also  the  other  friends  of  Lazarus,  and  ex- 
plained to  them  that  according  to  his  doc- 
trine he  always  was  with  them  and  re- 
mained with  them. 

But  the  knowledge  that  Jesus  was  in  the 
vicinity  of  Jerusalem  soon  came  to  all  his 
followers,  and  many  came  together  and 
were  directed  to  repair  to  a  secret  place  at 
a  fixed  time.    Thither  now  went  Jesus. 

And  here  many  hundred  people  had  come 
together,  and  as  they  made  manifest  their 
belief  that  Jesus  would  establish  a  worldly 
kingdom  and  liberate  the  land  of  his  peo- 
ple from  the  yoke  of  the  Eomans,  he  in- 
structed them  and  taught  them  that  this 
would  not  come  to  pass. 

122  The  Crucifixion 

But  Jesus  perceived  that  it  was  expe- 
dient that  he  should  go  away  again  into  the 
solitude,  that  the  people  should  no  more 
believe  that  his  kingdom  was  of  this  world, 
but  that  they  should  believe  in  his  words 
and  his  doctrines  as  the  word  of  God. 

That  day  it  came  to  pass  that  Jesus  went 
to  Jerusalem,  and  his  trusted  disciples 
went  with  him. 

But  the  high  council  already  had  sent 
out  many  secret  messengers  to  circulate 
false  rumors,  and  make  Jesus  a  captive. 
But  Jesus  was  warned  and  protected  by 
the  Esseer  brethren.  He  was  now  both 
faint  and  weak.  His  wounds  again  began 
to  pain  him,  and  his  face  was  pale. 

When  Jesus  entered  the  city  with  Peter 
and  John,  his  friends  conducted  him  into 
a  solitary  house.  Here  he  called  to  him 
the  elders  of  the  Esseer  Order. 

He  said  to  them  that  his  time  for  rest 
was  near  at  hand,  and  instructed  them  to 
wait  for  him  at  the  *' Olive  Mount,"  and 
thence  accompany  him  to  the  place  of  soli- 

The  Letter  123 

Thereupon  he  gathered  together  his 
disciples,  and  went  through  the  city  and 
out  of  the  gate  that  leads  to  the  valley  of 

And  his  soul  was  greatly  moved,  and  his 
heart  was  filled  with  sadness,  for  he  knew 
that  this  would  be  his  last  walk. 

Arriving  at  Kedron,  he  tarried  for  a  lit- 
tle while  and  wept  over  Jerusalem.  Thence 
he  went  forward  in  silence,  and  his  disciples 
followed  him. 

And  Jesus  led  them  to  the  place  most 
dear  to  him,  near  the  summit  of  Mount 
Olivet,  where  can  be  seen  almost  the  whole 
of  the  land  of  Palestine ;  for  Jesus  longed 
once  more  to  look  upon  the  country  where 
he  had  lived  and  worked. 

To  the  east  was  seen  Jordan,  the  Dead 
Sea  and  the  Arabian  Mountains;  and  to 
the  west  shone  the  fires  from  the  Temple 
Eock;  but  on  the  other  side  of  the  moun- 
tain was  Bethania. 

And  the  chosen  disciples  believed  that 
Jesus  would  lead  them  to  Bethania.    But 

124  The  Crucifixion 

the  elders  of  the  Brotherhood  had  silently 
come  together  on  the  other  side  of  the 
mountain,  ready  to  travel,  waiting  with 
Jesus,  as  had  been  agreed  upon. 

And  he  exhorted  his  disciples  to  be  of 
good  cheer,  and  firm  in  their  faith.  As  he 
spoke  his  voice  grew  more  and  more  melan- 
choly, and  his  mind  was  absorbed  in  solemn 

He  prayed  for  the  friends  he  was  about 
to  leave,  and  lifting  his  arms  he  blessed 
them.  And  the  mist  rose  around  the  moun- 
tain, tinted  by  the  descending  sun. 

Then  the  elders  of  the  Esseer  Brother- 
hood sent  word  to  Jesus  that  they  were 
waiting,  and  that  it  was  then  already  late. 

As  the  disciples  knelt  down,  their  faces 
bent  toward  the  ground,  Jesus  rose  and 
hastily  went  away  through  the  gathering 
mist.  When  the  disciples  rose  there  stood 
before  then!  two  of  our  brethren  in  the 
white  garb  of  our  Brotherhood,  and  they 
instructed  them  not  to  wait  for  Jesus,  as 
he  was  gone,  whereupon  they  hastened 
away  down  the  mountain. 

The  Letter  125 

But  the  disappearance  of  Jesus  filled  his 
disciples  with  new  hope  and  confidence,  for 
now  they  knew  that  they  themselves  were 
to  proclaim  the  word  of  Jesus,  as  he,  their 
beloved,  would  return  no  more. 

Therefore  faithfully  they  kept  together 
and  daily  went  to  the  temple  and  to  the 
places  where  he  had  taught  them,  and  the 
enemies  dared  not  molest  them. 

But  in  the  city  there  arose  a  rumor  that 
Jesus  was  taken  up  in  a  cloud,  and  had 
gone  to  heaven.  This  was  invented  by  the 
people  who  had  not  been  present  when 
Jesus  departed.  The  disciples  did  not  con- 
tradict this  rumor,  inasmuch  as  it  served 
to  strengthen  their  doctrine,  and  influenced 
the  people  who  wanted  a  miracle  in  order 
to  believe  in  him. 

John,  who  was  present,  knew  all  of  these 
things,  but  he  had  not  spoken  nor  written 
anything  about  it.  Likewise  Matthew. 
There  are  others  who  have  gathered  the 
rumors  thereof  into  an  illustration,  which 
they  believed  themselves,  as  they  were 
moved  by  the  spirit  to  glorify  Jesus. 

126  The  Crucifixion 

Thus,  one  of  them  named  Marcus  wrote 
to  a  congregation  in  Rome  and  gave  an 
account  of  this  event,  but  inasmuch  as  he 
had  not  been  present,  his  source  of  infor- 
mation was  only  the  rumors  among  the 

Even  thus  is  it  with  Lucas,  who  tried  to 
do  the  same. 

But  the  disciples  were  advised  by  the 
Esseer  brethren  to  assume  the  customs  and 
manners  of  the  Esseens  for  the  sake  of 
unanimity.  Therefore  they  formed  a  soci- 
ety wherein  even  the  women  took  an  offi- 
cious part,  especially  Mary  and  her  friends 
from  Galilee. 

But  Jesus  was  accompanied  on  his  way 
by  the  elders  of  the  Brotherhood,  likewise 
by  Joseph  and  Nicodemus ;  and  in  the  night 
time  they  procured  a  beast  of  burden  for 
Jesus,  who  grew  more  faint.  His  mind  was 
greatly  moved  at  leaving  his  friends,  and 
he  felt  that  his  death  would  soon  come. 

When,  at  the  end  of  their  journey,  they 
had  come  to  the  Esseer  brethren  by  the 

The  Letter  127 

Dead  Sea,  Jesus  was  in  deep  suffering,  so 
that  only  the  physicians  could  care  for  him. 
Joseph  and  Nicodemus  remained  with  him, 
and  having  heard  his  wishes  in  lengthy  con- 
versations, they  took  leave  of  him,  promis- 
ing to  inform  him  minutely  concerning  the 
affairs  of  the  congregation  in  Jerusalem. 

But  in  Jerusalem  none  save  John  and 
Matthew  knew  that  Jesus  had  returned  to 
the  solitude  of  the  Order,  that  the  people 
might  not  proclaim  him  their  worldly  king. 

But  Joseph  and  Nicodemus  had  three 
times  been  with  him  in  his  place  of  conceal- 
ment. And  on  their  return  they  informed 
us  of  him.  But  his  body  was  not  vigorous 
enough  to  overcome  the  sufferings  he  had 
endured  for  want  of  rest. 

His  soul  longed  for  his  disciples,  and  he 
was  anxious  that  nothing  should  be  neg- 
lected. His  restless  mind  found  no  consola- 
tion in  the  solitude,  and  anxiety  consumed 
his  vital  powers. 

But  Joseph  and  Nicodemus  had  been 
with  him  the  last  time  when  the  sixth  full 

128  The  Crucifixion 

moon  was  waning,  and  they  came  to  our 
Brotherhood  as  we  were  preparing  to  par- 
take of  the  feast  of  love,  and  revealed  the 
secret  to  the  elder  of  the  Order. 

And  their  hearts  were  sorely  grieved,  for 
the  chosen  one  was  taken  np  into  the  heav- 
enly dwellings  of  the  Father. 

The  Eternal  Spirit  had  gently  burst  the 
clay,  and  tranquil  as  his  life  was  his  death. 

And  he  was  buried  by  the  physician  close 
by  the  Dead  Sea,  as  bids  the  regulations  of 
our  Brotherhood. 

But  Nicodemus  enjoined  silence  concern- 
ing the  death  of  his  friend,  to  all  who  did 
not  belong  to  the  highest  degree. 

Here,  my  dear  brethren,  you  have  the 
only  true  account  of  our  friend,  whom  God 
had  called  to  teach  wisdom  and  virtue  to 
the  people  through  parables  and  noble 

It  is  now  a  long  time  since  then,  and  the 
Jews  have  seven  times  eaten  the  passover 
when  I  now  write  this  for  your  informa- 
tion.   And  thus  you  may  judge  of  the  truth 

The  Letter  129 

of  the  tradition  as  it  is  told  by  the  people. 

For  I  know  that  many  of  his  new  disci- 
ples tell  of  miracles,  even  as  they  them- 
selves have  wished  it  might  be.  And  the 
thoughtful  do  not  contradict  them,  for  the 
people  are  not  yet  wise  enough  to  receive 
the  truth  without  adding  to  it  that  which 
is  supernatural. 

As  you  yourself  have  conceived,  there 
are  many  rumors  come  from  Eome  that  I 
need  not  contradict,  for  you  know  yourself 
what  a  Brother  of  our  Order  has  to  do  and 
not  to  do. 

But  not  only  the  Jews  tell  of  superhuman 
things  concerning  him  that  they  believe,  but 
also  the  Romans;  for  the  pagans  believe 
in  gods,  and  these  are  identified  with  the 
miracles  told  by  the  Jews. 

And  I  give  you  the  authority  to  inform 
the  elders  of  our  Brotherhood  in  your  coun- 
try, what  I  have  written  to  you,  but  not 
the  novices  nor  those  of  the  other  degrees. 
For  his  is  the  glory,  the  Son  of  God,  whom 
we  all  worship  more  than  the  others  who 
are  removed  to  heaven. 

130  The  Crucifixion 

And  what  Jesus  has  taught  while  he 
lived  we  ought  to  promote  with  good-will. 
For  he  has  explained  the  doctrine  minutely 
to  everyone.  He  has  revealed  the  secret, 
therefore  receive  everyone  friendly  who  is 
called  by  his  name ;  for  his  disciples  will  go 
to  all  countries,  and  you  will  know  them 
by  their  greeting,  which  is  the  same  as  that 
of  our  Order.  And  you  ought  to  help  them 
as  our  Brotherhood  in  Jerusalem  and  the 
whole  country  has  served  the  Son  of  the 
heavenly  Father. 

This  is  what  I  have  to  say.  And  as  it  is 
written,  thus  it  has  passed.  For  the  elders 
of  our  Brotherhood  have  witnessed  these 
things  themselves,  and  my  own  eyes  have 
seen  him,  and  my  ears  heard  him,  and  I  am 
a  friend  of  Joseph  who  sits  in  the  grand 

And  forward  to  the  brethren  the  greet- 
ing :    Peace  be  with  you. 




FOR  an  enlightened  Christian  it  will  be 
wholly  indifferent  whether  the  life  of 
Jesus,  as  recorded  by  the  gospel,  has  an 
historical  foundation  or  not.  It  remains  a 
scientific  problem  whether  Jesus  really 
died  on  the  cross,  or  was  taken  down  only 
apparently  dead,  and  not  a  religious  one; 
for  in  the  moral  world  the  very  determina- 
tion to  die  for  truth  and  virtue  ought  to  be 
considered  as  highly  as  the  physical  death. 

The  intelligent  man,  that  has  made  the 
thought  clear  through  science  and  study, 
and  overcome  the  superstition  of  tradition, 
may  be  a  true  defender  of  the  Christian 
spirit  if  he  even  doubts  everything  in  the 
gospel  that  appears  to  him  in  any  way 
mythical  or  inexplicable. 

But  there  are  men  to  whom  only  that 


132  The  Crucifixion 

is  holy  that  they  cannot  explain  or  compre- 
hend themselves;  and  others,  again,  who 
will  try  to  lull  their  own  minds  into  tran- 
quil faith  on  undoubted  scriptural  author- 
ity; men  that  consider  the  outward  events 
for  the  aim  of  Jesus'  life,  and  keep  their 
minds  chained  down  to  a  dead  literal  faith ; 
further,  there  are  persons  who,  through 
their  simplicity  of  mind  and  education,  do 
not  ponder  on  the  subject  at  all,  who  con- 
sider sinful  every  examination  into  the 
ideas  prevailing  in  past  centuries. 

There  are  also  persons  who  keep  others 
in  ignorance  that  they  may  not  examine 
into  the  account  of  the  miracles. 

All  such  persons  are  not  true  defenders 
of  the  Christian  spirit,  and  the  therein  con- 
tained moral  liberty  of  thought.  Such  per- 
sons will  never  take  a  step  toward  the  im- 
provement of  the  Christian  spirit  in  the 
external  life,  and  it  is  just  therein  Chris- 
tianity ought  to  appear,  not  therein  that 
men  absorb  themselves  in  their  own  selfish 
conceits,  expecting  the  spirit  without  doing 

Translator's  Remarks  133 

anything  themselves.  No,  the  Christian 
spirit  ought  to  be  introduced  into  the  actual 
ever  changing  life,  to  be  modified  to  the 
wants  of  the  every-day  life. 

These  reflections  did  the  translator  pon- 
der upon  when  he  tried  to  understand  how 
orthodox  and  superstitious  people  could 
imagine  every  thread  in  the  garb  of  the 
Saviour  a  product  of  Divinity,  or  how  they 
in  individual  impotence  or  spiritual  bond- 
age, with  eager  hands,  grasp  for  a  pillar  in 
superstition  and  bigotry,  this  class  of  per- 
sons coming  across  the  old  Esseer  letter, 
would  necessarily  charge  it  with  profanity, 
and  above  all  with  non-genuineness. 

Although  it  cannot  be  proven  by  living 
witnesses  that  the  original,  from  which  the 
Latin  copy  is  translated,  was  a  genuine 
document  of  the  time  of  which  it  informs, 
yet  this  letter  contains  so  many  interesting 
events,  singularly  corresponding  with  the 
account  of  the  gospel,  and  recorded  with- 
out any  apparent  motive  of  the  author,  in 
a  pious,  simple  and  in  no  way  excited 

134  The  Crucifixion 

Just  through  the  simplicity  of  the  author 
will  many  inexplicable  events  and  mytho- 
logical accidents  in  the  life  of  Jesus  appear 
clear  that  were  leading  threads,  and  there 
is  much  that  may  be  explained  by  the  ex- 
ternal life  of  Jesus  and  his  spiritual  mis- 

And  when  we  minutely  examine  into  the 
account  given  by  the  Esseers,  raised  as 
they  were  above  the  common  superstition 
of  their  time  and  well  informed  in  the 
secrets  of  nature,  we  find  effects  and  con- 
sequences rationally  explained  and  many 
things  made  clear  that  the  gospel  surrounds 
with  mystery. 

It  is  to  be  regretted  that  there  are  in  our 
day  people  who  consider  the  Christian  life 
profaned  by  the  rational  and  reasonable 
explanation  and  account  of  the  miracles, 
even  when  it  has  the  stamp  of  testamental 
accuracy,  and  is  placed  on  a  natural  foun- 
dation, although  any  man  possessed  of 
common  understanding  remains  convinced 
of  the  non-existence  of  miracles ;  while  the 

Translator's  Remarks  135 

superstitious,  in  miracle  believing,  often  is 
brought  in  situations  where  he  is  given  to 
hypocrisy  and  conceit  for  to  be  able  to  be- 

It  is  just  this  hypocrisy  that  so  often  fills 
the  mind  of  the  rational  thinker  with  dis- 
gust. And  in  the  present,  as  well  as  to 
all  times,  the  religious  people  have  been 
divided  in  the  same  three  directions  mto 
which  it  already  was  directed  at  the  time 
of  Christ.  Even  the  present  time  has  its 
**Esseers,''  its  ^^Sadducees'*  and  its 
*  *  Pharisees.  * ' 

Both  then  and  now  the  number  of  the 
Esseer  defenders  of  the  faith  are  few.  It 
comprises  of  the  free  scientific  thinkers,  of 
they  that  search  for  truth,  of  they  that 
exercise  virtue  in  every  idea  of  life,  of  they 
that  can  understand  and  explain  the  ac- 
quired wisdom  and  make  it  useful.  To 
these,  as  the  old  recovered  document 
proves,  Jesus  belonged ;  and  this  is  as  much 
more  probable,  as  the  gospel  never  reports 
Jesus  to  have  spoken  against  the  Esseen, 

136  The  Crucifixion 

although  in  many  ways  he  combated  against 
the  doctrines  of  the  Sadducees  and  the 

Even  the  present  time  has  its  Sadducees, 
the  same  class  of  infidels  as  now,  raised 
above  tradition,  gormandizing,  worldly 
rich  men,  who,  unconcerned  about  eternity, 
wished  to  enjoy  themselves  in  this  life. 

But  to  all  times  the  Pharisees  have  been 
numerous.  From  time  immemorial  has 
hypocrisy  been  the  handmaiden  to  embrace 
every  tradition  that  has  characterized 
them.  With  them  have  good  and  bad 
angels  exercised  their  undefined  influence. 
The  miracles  have  spurred  them  to  outward 
piety,  outward  hypocritical  gestures  and 
public  benevolent  acts,  which  have  served 
as  a  cloak  for  the  corrupted  soul. 

The  translator  of  the  old  recovered  per- 
gament  views  the  matter  from  the  Esseen 
standard,  and  feels  satisfied  to  know  that 
this  view  of  the  matter  has  got  to  be  a  ne- 
cessity for  every  free-minded,  scientific,  un- 
prejudiced   and    really    intelligent    man. 

Translator's  Remarks  137 

Several  efforts  have  been  made  already  in 
past  times  to  explain  the  myths  of  the  gos- 
pel rationally,  and,  indeed,  penetrating 
minds  have  succeeded  to  give  them  the 
character  of  probability,  but  they  could  not 
be  proved  through  any  historical  event,  as 
the  canonical  dictators  defined,  what  was 
authentical,  only  that  which  was  service- 
able to  their  canonical  reign,  and  declared 
all  such  traditions  to  be  apocryphical  that 
will  say  not  useful,  which  in  reality  were 
built  on  historical  foundation,  or  were  not 
written  according  to  the  desire  of  a  holy 
seer  for  miracles. 

Even  the  Esseen  letter  that  we  have  re- 
corded above  would  by  them  have  been  con- 
sidered apocryphical  writing. 

If  we  examine  the  Esseen  letter,  that  is 
written  to  a  brother  of  the  Order  in  Alex- 
andria to  inform  him  and  the  other  breth- 
ren of  the  highest  degree  of  the  Brother- 
hood concerning  the  wonderful  events  that 
transpired  in  Jerusalem,  and  which 
through  rumors  were  made  known  all  over 

138  The  Crucifixion 

Asia,  we  will  find  many  points  of  great 
interest,  that  invite  to  a  closer  reflection. 

In  the  first  place,  it  is  to  be  noted  that  the 
Esseen  brethren  in  Alexandria  doubted  the 
reports  of  miracles  that  the  rumor  had 
brought  them,  and  that  they,  to  obtain  in- 
formation, wrote  to  the  Brotherhood  in 
Jerusalem  to  hear  their  opinion.  Thus 
there  were  already  many  people  there  that 
were  raised  above  the  superstitions  of  the 
common  people. 

From  the  letter  we  also  see  that  Jesus 
himself,  brought  up  in  the  school  of  the 
Essees,  did  not  believe  in  miracles,  al- 
though his  mother,  with  her  excitable  mind 
and  full  belief  in  the  Jewish  traditions  of 
miracles,  had  a  powerful  influence  on  him 
in  his  childhood  and  youth. 

But  the  letter  also  describes  that  Joseph, 
his  foster-father,  had  a  great  influence  on 
the  mind  of  Jesus,  as  it  is  said  about  him 
that  he  was  a  man  of  great  experience. 

The  Esseers  protected  the  child  in  its  life 
until  it  was  old  enough  to  be  received  into 

Translator's  Remarks  139 

the  Order  as  a  member.  According  to  the 
letter,  this  took  place  in  the  country  near 
Jutha,  where  lived  then  an  Esseen  Brother- 
hood. Here  it  was  that  he  was  met  by  the 
elder  of  the  Brotherhood,  probably  calcu- 
lated by  the  Essees  to  prepare  him  for  his 
reception  into  the  Order. 

It  is  also  told  that  here  he  was  received 
into  the  Order  contemporary  with  his 
friend  John,  and  further  on  in  the  letter  is 
recorded  that  John,  who  after  his  becom- 
ing a  member  perfected  himself  for  a  phy- 
sician, was  killed  by  the  enemies.  No  doubt 
hereby  is  meant  John  the  Baptist,  who  thus 
also  has  been  an  Esseer. 

It  may  appear  remarkable  that  Jesus, 
as  a  member  of  the  Esseen  Order  and 
knowing  all  the  secrets  and  duties  of  the 
Brotherhood,  did  not  live  in  the  solitude 
and  join  some  particular  Brotherhood. 
But  Jesus  felt  called  to  preach  to  the  peo- 
ple, and  could  not  satisfy  his  active  mind 
by  passing  his  time  in  the  solitude,  and 
not  teach  the  special  doctrines  abroad  that 
he  felt  it  his  mission  to  proclaim. 

140  The  Crucifixion 

We  even  see  that  the  elders  of  his  breth- 
ren always  were  desiring  him  to  withdraw 
into  the  solitude,  and  not  endanger  his  life 
among  the  people.  We  also  are  informed 
that  towards  the  end  of  his  life  Jesus  ex- 
plained to  his  brethren  his  motive  of  not 
staying  more  with  them  than  he  did,  and  at 
last  he  took  their  advice  and  retired  into 
the  solitude. 

But  of  particular  importance  is  the 
minute  record  of  the  sufferings  of  Jesus, 
and  the  way  in  which  he  conducted  himself 
on  the  cross.  The  gospel  records  that 
Jesus  really  died  on  the  cross,  and  thereby 
it  stamps  his  recovery  as  a  miracle,  which 
the  intelligent  man  considers  a  myth,  and 
from  which  he  extracts  the  allegorical 
meaning.  But  in  this  letter  we  are  in- 
formed of  events  in  their  simple  represen- 
tation that  contains  so  much  that  is  proba- 
ble, and  with  the  circumstances  corre- 
sponding, that  it  actually  will  be  a  neces- 
sity to  believe  on  it. 

The  fact  that  Jesus  only  apparently  died 

Translator's  Remarks  141 

on  the  cross  does  not  in  the  least  diminish 
the  sacredness  of  his  mission,  for  his  death 
for  the  divine  truth  was  fulfilled  thereby, 
that  he,  full  of  resignation,  suffered  the 
pain  of  death  till  his  physical  life  was  ex- 

In  the  old  letter  is  recorded  that  he  did 
not  die  on  the  cross,  but  passed  into  un- 
consciousness. Even  the  way  in  which 
Jesus  appeared  to  die  on  the  cross  makes 
the  probability  of  apparent  death  possible. 
First,  he  lost  consciousness  very  early,  so 
that  even  Pilate  doubted  his  death,  and  be- 
fore he  allowed  him  taken  down  from  the 
cross  he  ordered  the  Eoman  Centurio  to 
convince  himself  thereof.  Secondly,  by  the 
then  existing  mode  of  crucifixion,  was  it 
not  uncommon  that  the  crucified  could  be 
brought  to  life. 

We  are  also  informed  by  the  historians 
of  that  date  that  it  was  not  an  uncommon 
thing  that  crucified  criminals  were  brought 
back  to  life  after  being  taken  down  from 
the  cross.    It  is  also  proved  that  these  un- 

142  The  Crucifixion 

fortunates,  among  nations  that  did  not 
have  the  Jewish  custom  of  not  allowing  the 
crucified  to  hang  on  the  cross  over  night, 
often  would  hang  on  the  cross  eight  or  nine 
days  before  death  at  last  put  an  end  to 
their  dreadful  sufferings. 

When  we  examine  into  the  methods  of 
the  crucifixion  as  it  was  executed  on  Jesus, 
we  will  be  convinced  that  it  could  not  be 
impossible  for  life  to  remain  for  a  long 
time.  Not  any  of  the  appliances  used  were 
mortal,  and  first  got  to  be  so  when  they 
acted  for  such  a  long  time  that  the  vital 
power  was  not  able  of  reaction.  Arms  and 
feet  were  bound  with  thick  and  hard  cords 
so  tight  that  not  only  these  limbs  became 
numb,  but  even  the  circulation  of  the  blood 
was  almost  stopped  thereby. 

That  this  actually  was  the  case  is  proved 
by  the  description  of  the  old  historians, 
that  the  piercing  of  the  hands  with  thick 
spikes  produced  no  great  expression  of 
pain,  and  only  for  a  while  caused  bleeding. 
But  the  physiological  consequence  of  thus 

Translator's  Remarks  143 

tightly  lacing  the  limbs  would  be  the  forc- 
ible pushing  back  of  the  blood  to  the  brain 
and  heart,  whereby  would  be  produced  fits 
of  apoplexy  and  deep  swoonings. 

Both  the  thieves  that  were  crucified  with 
Jesus  still  lived  when  he  was  taken  down 
and  showed  outward  signs  of  life.  Other- 
wise their  bones  would  not  have  been 
crushed,  as  was  the  custom,  and  which  was 
not  done  to  Jesus,  as  they  thought  him 
dead.  As  he  was  exhausted  already  from 
the  scourging,  it  is  easily  explained  how 
he  so  soon  passed  into  a  state  of  uncon- 
sciousness and  apparent  death.  Even  the 
gospel  records  that  he  was  very  weak — 
that  he  sank  down  under  the  weight  of  the 

In  the  Esseen  letter  a  particular  weight 
is  laid  on  the  wound  in  the  side,  and  the 
physiological  knowledge  of  Nicodemus,  who 
in  this  letter  is  ascribed  great  secret  knowl- 
edge of  nature,  and  especially  in  the  Esseen 
science  of  curing,  is  indeed  to  be  admired ; 
for  it  is  recorded  that  Nicodemus,  from  the 

144  The  Crucifixion 

condition  of  the  wound,  received  new  hope 
that  Jesus  was  not  actually  dead,  and  his 
hope  was  realized. 

If  Jesus  really  had  been  dead  the  wound 
could  not  bleed  for  such  a  long  time,  and 
especially  not  emit  water  and  blood.  An 
actual  dead  corpse  will  not  bleed  from  an 
external  wound  that  does  not  sever  any 
arteries,  because  at  the  discontinuation  of 
the  circulation  the  blood  very  shortly  will 

Thus  Nicodemus  conceived  that  the  cir- 
culation of  the  blood  in  Jesus '  body  had  not 
ceased,  and  therefore,  having  sent  the  in- 
fluential Joseph  to  Pilate,  he  hurried  away 
to  procure  the  proper  drugs,  pretending 
that  he  wanted  to  embalm  the  body. 

The  Esseen  letter  speaks  repeatedly  of 
the  wound  above  the  hip.  Thus  this  wound 
was  lower  down  than  what  is  generally 
believed  and  represented. 

If  we  now  take  in  consideration  that  the 
wound  with  the  spear  was  not  made  to  give 
Jesus  the  finishing  stroke,  but  very  care- 

Translator's  Remarhs  145 

fully,  to  see  if  the  corpse  would  show  any 
convulsions  or  signs  of  life,  and  thereby 
prove  that  he  actually  was  dead — if  we  fur- 
ther consider  that  the  thrust  took  effect 
close  above  the  hip,  and  from  the  soldiers 
standing  below  would  have  to  be  made  in 
an  inclined  manner  in  an  almost  parallel 
direction  with  Jesus '  side,  it  is  evident  that 
no  vital  organ  could  have  been  severed, 
and  the  spear  may  only  have  pierced  the 

In  the  letter  this  wound  is  not  considered 
dangerous,  and  more  attention  is  paid  to 
the  wounds  in  the  hands  after  the  spikes. 
Thus  it  appears  that  these  were  considered 
more  dangeroUs.  It  is  positively  recorded 
that  his  feet  were  not  pierced,  as  this  was 
not  the  custom  at  crucifixions. 

Even  if  the  apparent  death  of  Jesus  in 
the  old  letter  was  not  maintained  as  a  fact, 
still  the  existing  historical  circumstances 
make  it  more  than  probable. 

When  we  further  pursue  the  letter  and 
compare  it  with  the  gospel  reports,  we  will 

146  The  Crucifixion 

in  neither  of  tliem  find  contradiction  as 
regards  facts.  The  only  difference  is  that 
in  the  gospel  all  is  transformed  into  a 
miraculous  Oriental  tradition,  when  the 
Esseer  letter,  on  the  other  hand,  pays  no 
attention  to  any  supernatural,  undefined 
and  imaginative  illustration,  but  records 
tlfip'  facts  as  they  are. 

A  dead  corpse  cannot  walk  about,  for  as 
long  as  the  world  has  existed  God  never 
did  contradict  himself  by  overthrowing 
eternal  laws  of  nature.  Even  if  a  single 
law  of  nature  was  set  aside,  the  whole  end- 
less chain  of  cause  and  effects,  where  every 
law  keeps  the  other  in  balance,  they  would 
fall  together  in  a  chaos. 

If  Jesus  really  as  a  messenger  could  go 
about,  speak,  eat  and  drink,  even  other  men 
could  do  the  same.  But  as  the  laws  of 
nature  do  not  permit  of  it,  it  has  not  been 
possible  even  in  the  case  of  Jesus.  When 
ignorant  and  unintelligent  men  say,  **for 
God  is  everything  possible, ' '  it  only  shows 
their  ignorance  of  the  Divine  nature;  for 

Translator's  Remarks  147 

no  more  than  God  can  suffer  the  east  rising 
sun  to  rise  henceforth  in  the  west,  no  more 
can  he  produce  anything  else  in  contrast 
to  his  eternal  laws  of  nature. 

The  Esseen  letter  in  its  representation 
of  these  events  has  therefore  the  important 
advantage  that  it  treats  with  things  pos- 
sible in  nature.  The  recovery  of  Jesus  is, 
according  to  this  letter,  supported  by  many 
circumstances  that  even  now  can  easily  be 

Jesus  was  not,  as  his  companions  in  suf- 
fering, beaten  with  heavy  clubs,  and  the 
letter  even  indicates  the  fear  of  Joseph 
and  Nicodemus  that  this  would  be  done.  If 
it  had  been  done  no  recovery  had  been  pos- 
sible, and  it  would  have  been  foolish  to 
attempt  it. 

But  nature  assisted  the  Essees  in  their 

The  fact  that  they  carefully  took  him 
down  from  the  cross,  bound  around  him 
leaves  that  were  saturated  with  salves  and 
liquids  that  were  prepared  from  the  aro- 

148  The  Crucifixion 

matic  herbs  of  the  Orient,  and  jfilled  with 
powerful  fragrant  qualities,  the  proximity 
of  the  grotto,  where  the  body  was  laid  on 
soft  moss,  where  the  spices  might  evapo- 
rate, and,  together  with  the  smoke  of  the 
aloe,  necessarily  must  exercise  an  animat- 
ing influence  on  the  benumbed  nerves. 

Further,  the  bleeding  of  the  wound  in  the 
side,  that  was  a  sure  sign  of  the  still  exist- 
ing circulation  of  the  blood,  must  neces- 
sarily assist  the  slumbering  life  to  assume 
its  functions  by  leading  away  the  blood 
that  during  the  crucifixion  had  been  forced 
back  to  the  heart,  brain  and  lungs,  and 
thereby  benumbed  these  organs,  so  that  the 
circulation  of  the  blood  could  take  place. 

The  earthquake  exercised  a  magnetic, 
electric,  animating  influence  on  the  nerves, 
and  when  at  last  the  shaking  of  the  ground 
in  the  direction  of  the  grotto  filled  the 
grave  with  electric  gases  at  the  same 
time  that  the  body  shook,  it  could  not  but 
cause  him  to  awake  from  his  slumber  of 

Translator's  Remarks  149 

All  these  circumstances  are  powerful 
means  of  calling  back  the  slumbering  to 
life,  especially  in  the  Orient. 

Furthermore,  Nicodemus,  the  expe- 
rienced physician,  and  Joseph,  the  tender- 
hearted friend  of  Jesus,  hoping  the  best 
from  the  operation  of  the  drugs,  went  to- 
gether in  the  night  to  receive  more  minute 
information  of  the  recovered  but  still  weak 
Jesus.  That  the  Esseen  youths  in  their 
white  flowing  garb  of  the  Order  could  be 
considered  supernatural  beings — angels — 
is  easily  explained  by  the  excited  state  of 
mind  of  the  concerned  persons,  and  the 
imaginative  mind  of  the  Orientals. 

In  the  old  letter  is  plainly  showed  that 
Jesus  was  brought  back  to  life  only  through 
the  exertions  of  the  Essees,  and  this  is 
easily  explained  by  he  vowing  that  the 
Order  should  be  unto  him  as  father  and 
mother,  and  they  in  their  turn  fulfilled  all 
their  motherly  duties. 

The  circumstance  that  Jesus  never  ap- 
peared in  two  places  at  the  same  time  also 

150  The  Crucifixion 

speaks  against  the  miraculous  representa- 
tion of  his  life.  But  indeed  he  was  sub- 
jected to  time  and  place  like  other  mortal 

Another  miraculous  representation  is  the 
ascension  of  Jesus.  Men  that  can  believe 
in  the  body  rising  from  actual  death  can 
also  unconditionally  believe  in  the  possi- 
bility of  a  bodily  ascension  to  heaven. 

But  the  intelligent  man,  who  from  scien- 
tific and  rational  reasons  considers  it  im- 
possible for  an  actual  dead  body  to  return 
to  life,  will  see  in  the  ascension  another 
Jewish  tradition  —  one  of  the  apotheoses 
that  were  usual  in  olden  times,  not  alone 
among  the  Jewish  people,  to  glorify  the 
memory  of  distinguished  persons.  With 
the  Jewish  people  had  the  religious  tradi- 
tion formed,  the  firm  belief  that  all 
prophets  ought  to  ascend  to  heaven,  and 
the  tradition  of  Elias  and  his  chariot  of  fire 
is  a  side-piece  to  the  one  of  Jesus'  ascen- 

It  is  not  doubted  of  such  that  possess  a 

Translator's  Remarks  151 

scientific  knowledge  of  death  and  its  nat- 
ural course,  that  Jesus  did  not  bodily  as- 
cend to  heaven  as  Marcus  and  Lucas  report 
(two  men  who  were  not  present,  and 
formed  their  account  only  from  the 
rumors).  Indeed,  this  representation 
stands  in  opposition  to  the  Christian 
thought  that  Paul  has  expressed  so  glo- 
riously. Paul  says  in  the  first  letter  to  the 
Corinthians,  chap,  xv.,  v.  50:  **Now  this  I 
say,  brethren,  that  flesh  and  blood  cannot 
inherit  the  kingdom  of  God,  neither  doth 
corruption  inherit  incorruption." 

Even  if  it  were  a  secret,  what  happened 
on  Mount  Olive,  the  two  disciples  that  were 
present,  Matthew  and  John,  in  their 
writings,  do  not  inform  us  a  single 
word  about  the  ascension.  Even  then 
the  Esseen  letter's  account  would  be 
a  very  interesting  one — that  Jesus  on  the 
Mount  only  took  a  usual  departure  and 
afterwards  fulfilled  the  duties  of  the 
Esseen  Order  by  living  a  secluded  life. 

When  we  are  informed  that  Jesus  retired 

152  The  Crucifixion 

into  solitude,  and  even  from  his  vow  to  the 
Order,  that  he  promised  that  when  his  dis- 
ciples wanted  him  he  would  manifest  him- 
self unto  them,  it  is  evident  that  he  did 
not  leave  the  earth.  But  even  with  Jesus 
the  traditions  of  the  Jewish  people  and  the 
old  prophecy  appear  to  have  had  some  in- 
fluence, and  instinctively  guided  many  of 
his  actions  and  parables,  for  even  he  was 
a  child  of  his  time  and  brought  up  in  the 
traditions  of  his  nation. 

The  Esseen  letter  records  that  Jesus 
died  in  solitude  six  months  afterwards,  as 
a  result  of  his  sufferings,  that  had  pros- 
trated and  broken  his  constitution  and  his 
excited  mind.  It  were  to  be  wished  that 
even  the  place  was  recorded  where  he  died 
and  was  buried.  The  old  Esseen  does  not 
give  any  account  of  the  place,  probably  on 
account  of  being  recommended  silence  on 
that  subject  by  the  Order. 








*'And  ye  shall  he  unto  me  a  priestly  king- 
dom,  and  a  holy  people." 

—2  M.  B.,  chap.  14,  v.  6. 

BY  THE  time  when  the  greatest  teacher 
of  the  Word,  the  great  mediator, 
Jesus  Christ,  stepped  forth  among  the 
Jewish  people,  proclaiming  his  doctrines 
of  light  and  heavenly  truths,  that  these 
his  doctrines  might  spread  light  and 
warmth  over  the  earth,  and  peace  in  the 
weary  heart  of  men,  had  the  above  spoken 
of  people  in  general  very  much  deviated 
from  the  path  of  the  Lord,  from  the  knowl- 
edge of  him,  and  from  the  doctrines  of 
divinity  given  to  Abraham  and  handed 
down  to  Isaac,  Jacob  and  their  descend- 
ants, and  afterwards  further  interpreted 
and  explained  by  the  man  of  God,  Moses. 

The  interpreters  of  the  Scriptures  in  the 
different  ages  of  the  Old  Testament,  or 


156  The  Crucifixion 

the  Scribes,  had  contrived  to  attribute  to 
the  holy  Scriptures  the  meaning  and  exple- 
cation  that  was  most  convenient  to  their 
material  advantage,  estimation  among  the 
people,  or  their  own  wishes.  Indeed,  we 
find  in  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment that  holy  men  of  the  school  of  the 
prophets  often  stepped  forth  as  the  cham- 
pions of  truth  and  defenders  of  light,  who 
severely  reproached  the  people  for  their 
sins  and  vices,  and  severely  warned  the 
false  teachers  who  led  the  people  astray 
and  misinterpreted  the  laws  of  the  Lord. 
But  the  people  seldom  heeded  them,  and 
many  of  them  fell  victims  and  martyrs  for 
the  vengeance  of  the  priests,  the  scribes, 
and  the  fury  of  the  people. 

By  the  time  that  Jesus  Christ  and  his 
great  predecessor,  John,  stepped  forth 
among  the  people,  the  Jewish  people  was 
separated  into  several  religious  sects,  that 
each  had  different  views  on  religion.  But 
even  from  the  day  that  Moses,  according  to 
the  command  of  God,  consecrated  the  peo- 

Order  of  Essees  157 

pie  to  *'A  covenant  people  to  the  Lord." 
2  M.  B.  19  Chapt. 

There  was  always  among  them  a  certain 
class  by  whom  the  name  of  the  Lord  Jeho- 
vah was  worshipped  in  truth  and  purity. 
Already  in  the  time  of  the  first  Judges  ap- 
peared this  class  as  a  distinct  Order  or 
Brotherhood,  named  **Nazirees,''  ^*Naza- 
rees,  "or  *  *  Nazarenes, ' '  and  in  the  time  of 
the  Kings  we  find  this  Brotherhood  under 
the  name  of  the  so-called  *^  School  of  the 
Prophets. ' ' 

The  members  of  this  holy  union  had  the 
design,  *  *  To  love  and  worship  God  in  purity 
of  heart,  and  to  the  best  of  their  ability 
work  on  their  own  ennobling  and  perfec- 
tion; and  of  all  their  might  to  further  the 
happiness  and  peace  of  their  fellow  men. ' ' 

In  time  of  the  Maccabai,  this  interest- 
ing Brotherhood  appears  under  the  name 
of  **Hasidees,"  eller  **Assidees,"  that  is, 
*  *  the  holy, "  *  *  the  pious ' ' ;  and  afterwards, 
in  the  time  of  St.  John  the  Baptist  and  the 
great     Master,     under     the     name     of 

158  The  Crucifixion 

**Esseers/'  or  *  *  Essenes, ' '  that  is,  the 
** children  of  peace.'' 

It  is  not  to  be  wondered  at,  that  the 
scriptures  of  the  New  Testament  do  not 
directly  mention  this  important  and  sig- 
nificant Brotherhood,  as  they  lived  sepa- 
rated from  the  world,  as  a  defined  Order, 
and  admitted  nobody  that  had  not  under- 
gone a  term  of  trial  for  three  years  and 
sworn  not  to  disclose  for  any  outsiders 
what  took  place  in  their  meetings.  This 
Order  had  a  material  influence  on  the  cul- 
ture and  enlightening  of  the  age  and  the 
ages  that  were  to  come. 

In  the  New  Testament  there  are  many 
expressions  and  references  that  directly 
appear  to  the  thinker  and  the  unprejudiced 
interpreter  of  the  Bible,  that  indirectly 
speak  of  this  Brotherhood;  and  just  by 
these  may  be  explained  many  undefined 
and  dark  quotations  in  the  Scriptures,  and 
rationally  conceived,  that  otherwise  would 
appear  inexplicable  and  obscure.  We  will 
afterwards  represent  instances  of  this 

Order  of  Essees  159 

But  before  we  proceed  to  a  more  minute 
illustration  of  this  most  remarkable  Broth- 
erhood, we  will  first  pay  attention  to  the,  in 
Jesus'  time,  most  important  and  differing 
sects  of  religion  among  the  Jewish  people. 

These,  first,  the  Pharisees,  a  sect  full  of 
hypocrisy  and  egotism.  They  distinguished 
themselves  by  rigidly  observing  all  the  out- 
ward forms  of  the  Mosaic  law,  assumed 
holiness,  haughtiness  and  ambition  in  uni- 
son with  greedy  aim  after  earthly  win- 
nings, but  did  care  little  for  the  real  purify- 
ing of  the  heart  or  true  humanity;  and 
combined  with  these  peculiarities  great  de- 
sire for  dignity  and  worldly  esteem.  At 
public  meetings  they  always  endeavored  to 
be  the  principal  ones  and  aspired  generally 
for  the  esteem  and  favor  of  the  people. 

The  Master  Jesus  often  severely  re- 
proached them  therefor,  and  warned  and 
exhorted  the  people  to  shun  their  false  doc- 
trines in  the  sayings : 

**Take  heed  and  beware  of  the  leaven  of 
the    Pharisees    and    of   the    Sadducees." 

160  The  Crucifixion 

Math.  Evang.  Chap.  16,  and  in  the  same 
gospel,  Chap.  23,  where  he  four  times  cries 
*^Wo"  unto  them,  he  says  **Wo  nnto  you, 
scribes  and  Pharisees,  hypocrites,  for  ye 
make  clean  the  outside  of  the  cup  and  of 
the  platter,  but  within  they  are  full  of  ex- 
tortion and  excess.'' 

It  is  evident  from  this  and  several  other 
quotations  of  the  same  kind,  where  Jesus 
reprimands  them  severely  and  rebukes 
them,  that  he  considered  the  Pharisees  the 
most  vicious,  cunning  and  dangerous  of  all 

Next  we  have,  second,  the  Sadducees. 
These  were  a  kind  of  philosophers  who  de- 
nied the  immortality  of  the  soul  and  a  life 
after  this,  and  they  teached  that  they  de- 
ceived themselves  who  lived  a  pious  and 
devoted  life  and  exercised  virture,  hoping 
therefor  to  get  their  reward  after  death. 

Such  a  reward  after  death  there  was  not, 
but  it  always  was  a  necessary  duty  that 
men  should  fulfil  to  themselves,  by  living 
a  virtuous  and  good  life,  as  they  then,  more 

Order  of  Essees  161 

contented  in  their  mind,  could  proceed  on 
their  way  through  life,  and  in  consequence 
thereof  would  the  burden  of  life  be  easier 
to  carry. 

This  was  their  peculiar  interpretation  of 
the  moral  meaning  of  the  commandments, 
but  yet  it  preserved  them  from  the  hypoc- 
risy and  the  dissembling  of  the  Pharisees. 

The  Sadducees  showed  themselves  open- 
ly to  the  world  such  as  they  in  reality  were, 
in  a  life  intermixed  with  virtues,  faults  and 
vices.  Toward  the  Master,  Jesus,  they 
never  showed  such  an  animosity  as  the 
Pharisees.  On  the  contrary,  they  often 
with  great  attention  and  admiration  seemed 
to  listen  to  his  doctrines  of  wisdom. 

They  were  more  energetic  and  active 
than  the  Pharisees,  and  as  they,  like  the 
former,  had  a  great  desire  for  acquiring 
wealth  and  worldly  possessions,  they  were 
generally  rich  and  considered  the  wealthi- 
est class  among  the  Jews.  The  king, 
**  Herod, '^  belonged  to  the  sect  of  the  Sad- 
ducees and  acknowledged  their  doctrines. 

162  The  Crucifixion 

The  third  sect  comprised  the  Publicans. 
They  are  not  to  be  considered  as  a  distinct 
religious  sect,  but  it  is  evident  that  they 
widely  differed  from  the  above  named 
sects,  and  the  so-called  ^* proper  Jews,''  in 
their  religious  belief;  and  this  is  even 
shown  by  the  contempt  in  which  they  were 
held  by  the  common  people. 

But  we  have  reasons  to  believe  that  this 
contempt  often  was  unmerited,  as  they 
were  often  kindly  received  by  the  Master, 
Jesus,  and  he  friendly  communed  with 
many  of  them.  He  speaks  thus  of  himself 
in  unison  with  them  in  Math.  Chap,  xi,  v. 
19:  **The  Son  of  Man  came  eating  and 
drinking  and  they  say,  behold  a  man  glut- 
tonous, and  a  wine  bibber,  a  friend  of  Pub- 
licans and  sinners.''  But  even  the  life  of 
these  he  reproached  on  several  occasions. 
In  Math.  5  Chap.,  v.  46,  he  says:  **For  if 
ye  love  them  which  love  you,  what  reward 
have  ye;  do  not  even  the  Publicans  the 

Every  Jew  who  had  knowledge  of  the 

Order  of  Essees  163 

Scriptures  of  the  Old  Testament,  shortly 
everybody  that  examined  into  things  and 
claimed  to  possess  the  culture  of  his  time, 
generally  belonged  to  either  the  Pharisees, 
Sadducees,  or  the  Essees. 

We  know  with  certainty,  and  the  writings 
of  the  Evangelists  do  not  deny  it,  but  to  the 
contrary  strengthen  this  fact,  that  the  Mas- 
ter's  great  predecessor,  John,  from  his  in- 
fancy was  adopted  and  brought  up  in  the 
School  of  the  Esseen  Order,  and  there  ac- 
quired his  knowledge  and  wisdom. 

We  cannot  here  give  any  information  on 
this  subject,  of  what  the  higher  degrees 
of  the  Order  did  know  about  it,  as  this 
description  of  the  old  Essees  is  written  for 
the  benefit  of  the  brethren  of  all  degrees, 
we  will  therefore  confine  ourselves  to  ex- 
amining the  gospel  and  other  New  Testa- 
mental  Scriptures  for  testimony  to  prove 
the  same. 

It  is  evident  from  the  gospel  that  John 
neither  belonged  to  the  sect  of  the  Phari- 
sees nor  to  that  of  the  Sadducees.    He  re- 

164  The  Crucifixion 

buked  them  both  severely  for  their  lives, — 
as  his  great  successor, — and  when  many  of 
both  the  Pharisees  and  Sadducees  came  to 
him  at  Salem  on  the  bank  of  the  Jordan  to 
be  baptized  by  him,  he  said  to  them:  **0 
generation  of  vipers,  who  hath  warned  you 
to  flee  from  the  wrath  to  come?  Bring 
forth  therefore  fruits  meet  for  repent- 
ance. ' '    Math.  3  Chap.,  7  and  8  v. 

Herod  adhered,  as  above  mentioned,  to 
the  doctrine  of  the  Sadducees,  and  it  was 
this  Herod,  whom  John  so  severely  rebuked 
on  several  occasions  for  Herodias  his 
brother  Philip 's  wife,  and  ^ '  for  all  the  evils 
which  Herod  had  done,  added  yet  this 
above  all,  that  he  shut  up  John  in  prison. ' ' 
Luco,  iii.  Chap.  19-25. 

Lucas  the  Evangelist  relates  to  us  in  his 
iii.  chap.,  12  and  13  v. :  *  *  Then  came  also 
Publicans  to  be  baptized  and  said  unto 
him,  *  Master,  what  shall  we  do?'  And  he 
said  unto  them,  ^  Exact  no  more  than  that 
which  is  appointed  to  you. '  ' ' 

John  says  about  himself  in  the  gospel  of 

Order  of  Essees  165 

John,  1  Chap.  23  v.:  **I  am  the  voice  of 
one  crying  in  the  wilderness'';  and  the 
Evangelists  add  that  this  answer  did  he 
give  to  *  *  they  which  were  sent  were  of  the 

Marcus  says  of  John  in  his  1  Chap.,  4  to 
6  vs.:  **John  did  baptize  in  the  wilderness 
and  preach  the  baptism  of  repentance  for 
the  remission  of  sins.  And  John  was 
clothed  with  camel's  hair  and  with  a  girdle 
of  a  skin  about  his  loins,  and  he  did  eat 
locusts  and  wild  honey ' ' ;  and  in  about  the 
same  words  and  sense  does  Matthew  speak 
of  John  in  his  third  chapter. 

We  might  cite  more  instances  of  the  same 
kind,  but  these  ought  to  be  sufficient  to 
show  that  the  Scriptures  of  the  New  Testa- 
ment give  a  positive  proof  for  the  con- 
tended point  that  John  did  not  belong  to 
either  the  school  of  the  Pharisees  or  that 
of  the  Sadducees.  At  the  same  time  it 
gives  more  than  a  negative  proof  for  the 
conclusion  that  he  belonged  to  the  holy 
order  of  the  Esseers;  and  the  more  we 

166  The  Crucifixion 

study  the  writings  of  the  Evangelists  and 
interpreters  of  the  Bible,  and  consider  who 
were  the  friends  of  John,  and  the  doctrine 
he  preached  to  the  people,  the  more  are  we 
convinced  that  he  belonged  to  the  Essees. 

By  comparing  all  the  above  named  with 
the  manner  of  life,  ceremonies  and  funda- 
mental belief  of  the  Essees,  we  are  thereby 
convinced  that  this  champion  of  truth  was 
the  messenger  of  the  Brotherhood  to  pre- 
pare the  way  for  Jesus  and  to  promote  his 
mission,  who  indeed  had  sent  him. 

We  will  proceed  to  a  truthful  illustration 
of  this  Brotherhood,  as  we  find  it  related 
of  authentic  authors  from  the  commence- 
ment of  the  New  Testament  time,  and  let 
these  speak  for  themselves. 

Of  all  the  Gentile  authors,  none  give 
more  authentic  and  minute  information  on 
the  subject  than  the  Jewish  historian, 
Josephus,  in  his  work,  De  Bello  Judaico, 
8  Chap.,  2-13  vs.;  and  especially  in  his 
Historia  Antiqua  Judaico,  3  Book,  5  Chap. 

He  lived  both  before  and  after  the  de- 

Order  of  Essees  167 

struction  of  Jerusalem  by  Titus,  and  as 
he  himself  belonged  to  the  Esseen  order, 
and  had  undergone  the  ordered  term  of 
trial  for  three  years,  his  accounts  merit 
our  belief  of  its  authenticity.  Of  his  admis- 
sion into  this  Order  he  writes  as  follows : 

**When  I  had  reached  my  sixteenth  year 
did  I  undertake  to  examine  into  our  dif- 
ferent religious  sects  and  their  doctrines, 
that  having  come  to  know  them  I  might 
choose  the  one  that  to  me  appeared  the 
best.  I  have  already  mentioned  that  there 
were  three  sects  of  Pharisees,  Sadducees, 
and  Essees. 

**  Having  resolved  this,  did  I  at  once 
begin  to  prepare  myself  in  different  ways 
that  I  might  be  found  worthy  to  be  admit- 
ted into  the  Order  of  Essees.  In  order  to 
accomplish  this,  I  turned  to  a  man  called 
Banus,  of  whom  was  told  that  he  belonged 
to  the  Brotherhood  of  Essees,  and  lived  in 
the  wilderness,  made  his  clothes  out  of  the 
bark  and  leaves  of  the  trees,  fed  upon  wild 
fruits,  plants  and  herbs,  and  from  holiness 

168  The  Crucifixion 

bathed  several  times  night  and  day  in  cold 

**In  this  man's  company  I  spent  three 
entire  years,  undergoing  all  kinds  of  trials, 
temptations  and  privations,  and  then  re- 
turned to  the  city  (Jerusalem.)  When  I 
had  filled  my  nineteenth  year  did  I  com- 
mence to  shape  my  life  and  habits  accord- 
ing to  the  doctrines  of  the  Pharisees,  and 
this  sect  is  very  similar  to  the  Grecian 

Of  these,  Josephus'  own  words,  we  are 
informed  that  he  actually  had  undergone 
the,  according  to  the  Esseen  law,  ordered 
term  of  trial;  and  although  he  afterwards 
returned  to  Jerusalem,  and  in  the  future 
obeyed  the  doctrines  of  the  Pharisees,  yet 
did  he  continue  to  remain  a  member  of 
the  Esseen  Brotherhood,  and  was  admitted 
into  their  meetings  as  long  as  he  did  not 
transgress  the  duties  of  the  Order,  or  in 
any  way  did  break  the  oath  that  he  had 
taken  at  his  initiation. 

It  was  not  before  the  Jewish  kingdom 

Order  of  Essees  169 

was  destroyed  by  Titus,  Jerusalem  and 
most  of  the  other  cities  of  the  country  laid 
in  ashes,  and  the  members  of  the  Esseen 
Orders  widely  dispersed,  that  Josephus  in 
his  writings  committed  to  the  world  what 
we  here  will  communicate. 

Josephus  was  of  high-priest  by  descend- 
ancy,  and  as  it  was  in  the  tribe  of  Aaron 
that  Phariseeism  most  flourished  and  had 
its  foundation  among  the  priests,  it  is  not 
to  be  wondered  that  the  nineteen-year-old 
Josephus  soon  tired  of  the  rigid  habits  of 
the  Essees,  their  toilsome  work  and  frugal 
living,  and  that  when  he  had  gone  through 
his  term  of  trial  found  more  pleasure  in 
the  jolly  life  of  the  Pharisees,  as  much 
more  as  these  by  hypocrisy  and  assumed 
piety  could  take  part  in  many  worldly 
amusements  without  thereby  losing  their 
esteem  among  the  people. 

What  we  now  will  lay  before  the  reader 
is  written  by  himself  and  ought  to  be  suf- 
ficient to  show  that  he  always  harbored  a 
high  degree  of  esteem  and  admiration  for 
the  Brotherhood. 

170  The  Crucifixion 

**The  doctrine  of  the  Essees,"  says  he, 
''tends  to  learn  all  men  that  they  confi- 
dently may  trust  their  fate  in  the  hands 
of  God,  as  nothing  happens  without  his 
will.  They  say  that  the  soul  is  immortal, 
and  they  aspire  to  lead  a  righteous  and 
honest  life. 

Indeed,  they  send  their  offerings  to  the 
temple,  but  this  they  do,  not  because  they 
consider  it  in  any  way  meritable,  but  be- 
cause they  consider  it  their  duty  to  give 
their  share  of  the  offerings,  that  the  other 
people  shall  not  for  their  sake  be  oppressed 
and  encumbered. 

* '  They  are  the  most  honest  people  in  the 
world,  and  always  as  good  as  their  word, 
very  industrious  and  enterprising,  and 
show  great  skill  and  concern  in  agriculture. 

''But  most  of  all  are  those  venerated, 
esteemed  and  admired  who  live  in  the  wil- 
derness, on  account  of  the  sense  of  justice 
that  they  ever  show  and  the  courage  and 
intrepidity  that  they  manifest  in  ever  de- 
fending truth   and  innocence.    And   this 

Order  of  Essees  171 

trait  is  not  found  in  such  a  high  degree 
neither  with  the  Grecian  nor  any  other  peo- 
ple, but  it  has  always  characterized  the 
Essees  from  time  inmiemorial. 

**They  exercise  justice  and  equality  in 
their  dealings  with  all  people,  have  all  their 
property  common,  so  that  the  rich  does  not 
consume  more  of  his  riches  than  the  poor 
of  his  small  means.  In  this  way  four  thou- 
sand people  pass  their  life. 

**They  never  marry,  and  keep  no  serv- 
ants. They  consider  that  marriage  would 
only  create  discord  and  rupture  among  the 
brethren,  and  do  not  think  it  right  that  one 
should  be  the  slave  or  servant  of  the  other, 
as  all  men  are  brethren  and  God  their 

**  Therefore  do  they  live  entirely  sepa- 
rate from  women  and  serve  and  assist  each 

*  *  For  accountants  for  the  profits  of  their 
agricultural  labor  and  handiwork  they 
choose  the  most  virtuous,  honest  and  pious 
of  their  brethren.    These  also  perform  the 

172  The  Crucifixion 

service  of  priests  and  provide  for  all  the 
wants,  as  food  and  clothing.  They  all  live 
the  same  simple,  industrious  and  frugal 
life,  and  may  be  compared  with  the  *Pal- 
istas'  of  the  *Dacies\'' 

In  his  work.  Be  Bello  Judaico,  8  Chap. 
2-13  vs.,  Josephus  further  writes : 

^  *  The  third  class  of  philosophers  among 
the  Jews,  and  the  class  that  is  most 
esteemed  for  their  just  and  moral  life,  is 
the  so-called  Essees  or  Esseens,  that  al- 
though they  certainly  descended  from  the 
Jewish  people,  yet  show  more  amity  and 
love  for  each  other  than  the  other  Jews, 
and  live  a  more  moral  life. 

**They  shun  and  despise  sensuality  as  a 
great  sin,  but  consider  a  moral  and  tem- 
perate life  a  great  virtue,  and  pride  highly 
the  strength  of  mind  and  the  power  to 
overcome  the  passions  and  desires  of  their 

**  Therefore  they  subdue  the  sensual  in- 
stinct, but  willingly  adopt  the  children  of 
other  people,  and  especially  while  these  are 

Order  of  Essees  173 

very  young,  as  they  then  are  most  suscepti- 
ble to  teaching  and  impressions. 

*  ^  They  show  great  kindness  to  such  chil- 
dren, hold  them  dear,  and  teach  them  all 
kinds  of  knowledge  and  science,  morals  and 

*  *  They  do  not  reject  wedlock,  but,  to  the 
contrary,  consider  it  necessary  for  the 
propagation  of  mankind;  but  themselves 
they  want  no  intercourse  with  women,  as 
they  fear  of  their  unchastity  and  levity,  be- 
cause they  consider  that  no  woman  gives 
her  affections  to  her  husband  alone. 

**They  despise  riches  and  worldly  gain, 
and  the  equality  of  property  among  them 
must  be  admired;  therefore  none  of  them 
are  seen  to  live  in  abundance  nor  in  need. 

**The  laws  of  the  Order  regulate  that 
every  one  that  enters  into  the  Brotherhood 
gives  up  to  this  all  his  property  and  wealth, 
and  therefore  among  them  are  neither  seen 
haughtiness  nor  slavish  subjection ;  but  all 
live  together  as  brethren,  sharing  good  and 

174  The  Crucifixion 

**The  ^Ointment  with  oil,'  which  the 
other  Jews  praise  so  highly,  they  consider 
to  be  without  any  sacred  power  or  use,  and 
do  not  therefore  use  it,  but  to  the  contrary 
cleanse  themselves  from  it  if  any  one  of 
their  body  should  be  touched  thereby  by  an 

**For  the  administration  and  account  of 
the  common  property,  they  elect  inspectors 
and  directors,  but  in  every  other  respect 
they  assist  each  other. 

*  ^  They  do  not  live  in  any  particular  town, 
but  in  every  town  the  Order  has  its  re- 
spective *  house'  where  the  members  take 
their  abode  when  they  on  their  travels  ar- 
rive, and  they  are  there  supplied  with  all 
they  want.  Everything  is  here  to  their  dis- 
position, as  if  in  their  own  houses,  and 
here  they  are  received  as  the  best  friends 
and  near  relations  by  persons  they  never 
before  saw. 

**In  every  town  there  is  an  inspector, 
who  has  in  his  care  clothes  and  other  neces- 
sary things  that  he  graciously  distributes 
to  them  who  need  such. 

Order  of  Essees  175 

**The  Essees  use  their  clothes  until  they 
are  worn  out  and  can^t  be  used  any  longer. 
They  neither  buy  nor  sell  among  them- 
selves, but  every  member  willingly  gives 
his  brother  what  he  needs  of  his,  and  is 
again  supplied  by  others  with  the  needful ; 
and  even  if  he  thinks  he  never  can  repay  it, 
he  may  without  bashfulness  receive  it,  as 
this  is  a  rule  with  them. 

**The  Esseen  worship  of  God  is  grand, 
sacred  and  majestic;  and  before  the  sun 
rises  and  greets  the  earth  with  its  beams, 
they  do  not  speak  on  earthly  matters,  but 
read  and  send  forth  their  sacred,  humble 
prayers  that  they  have  learned  from  their 
fathers.  The  prayer  over,  the  inspector 
points  out  the  work  in  which  each  one  is 
the  most  skilled. 

**  Having  thus  worked  for  five  hours,  do 
they  again  gather,  bathe  themselves  in  cold 
water,  and  don  a  white  linen  garb.  Having 
washed  themselves,  they  proceed  to  the  spe- 
cial halls  of  the  Order,  where  no  one  dare 
come  who  does  not  belong  to  their  Order. 

176  The  Crucifixion 

**  Having  gone  through  the  ceremonies 
that  the  law  prescribes,  they  proceed,  per- 
fectly cleansed,  to  their  eating  rooms 
with  the  same  reverence  as  if  they  entered 
the  holy  temple. 

*^  Everybody  having  taken  his  place  in 
supreme  silence  and  stillness,  the  bakers 
of  the  Brotherhood  enter,  distributing  a 
bread  to  each  person  after  a  certain  order. 
The  cook  sets  before  each  one  a  plate  of 
vegetables  and  other  eatables,  and  this 
being  performed,  one  of  the  priests  steps 
forth  and  holds  a  prayer,  for  they  consider 
it  a  grave  sin  to  rest  or  touch  food  before 

**The  meal  over,  the  priest  reads  an- 
other prayer,  and  then  the  hymn  of  praise 
is  sung;  and  in  this  way  they  praise  and 
thank  God,  the  giver  of  all  good,  both  be- 
fore and  after  the  meal. 

**They  then  take  off  their  white  aprons, 
that  they  consider  sacred  clothes,  and  re- 
turn to  their  work,  which  they  pursue  till 
the  twilight  spreads  over  the  earth. 

Order  of  Essees  177 

**Then  they  go  to  their  frugal  evening 
meal  again,  during  which  they  observe 
the  same  ceremonies  as  at  their  dinner ;  and 
if  members  from  foreign  parts  have  ar- 
rived, are  they  put  in  the  chief  places  at 
the  table. 

*  ^  The  meal  is  taken  with  the  most  solemn 
silence  and  stillness,  no  noise  nor  dispute 
disturbing  the  peace  of  the  house. 

*  *  They  talk  by  turns,  and  in  a  low  tone, 
which  will  appear  strange  to  those  not  used 
to  it.  They  observe  great  temperance  in 
their  way  of  living,  eat  and  drink  only  what 
is  necessary  for  their  want. 

**In  general  do  they  not  act  without  thb 
knowledge  and  consent  of  their  inspectors 
and  director;  but  it  is  always  left  to  their 
own  free  will  to  exercise  benevolence  and 
compassion  to  all  in  want,  of  all  classes  of 
society,  but  it  was  not  allowed  them  to  give 
any  aid  to  their  relatives  without  inform- 
ing the  inspector.  But  in  other  matters  it 
was  allowed  every  member  *To  feed  the 
hungry,  clothe  the  naked,  shelter  the  home- 

178  The  Crucifixion 

less,  comfort  the  sick,  visit,  assist  and  com- 
fort the  prisoner,  and  comfort,  aid  and  pro- 
tect the  widows  and  fatherless. ' 

**They  never  let  themselves  to  be  over- 
come by  anger,  hatred,  vengeance,  or  ill- 
will.  Indeed,  they  are  the  champions  of 
faith,  truth  and  honesty,  and  the  servants 
and  arbitrators  of  peace. 

**  Their  *Yea'  and  *No'  was  with  them  as 
binding  as  the  most  sacred  oath,  and  ex- 
cept the  oath  they  take  at  their  admittance 
into  the  Order,  they  never  bind  themselves 
through  an  oath,  neither  in  their  public  nor 
private  life,  for  oaths  and  profanity  are 
with  them  as  much  shunned  as  perjury  it- 
self;  and  they  consider  that  the  man  loses 
his  esteem  among  his  fellow  citizens  whose 
word  is  not  sufficient  without  swearing. 

'^They  study  with  perseverance  and  in- 
terest ancient  writings,  and  especially  pre- 
fer such  that  are  intended  to  indurate  and 
strengthen  the  body  and  ennoble  and  sanc- 
tify the  spirit. 

''They  have  profound  knowledge  of  the 

Order  of  Essees  179 

art  of  healing,  and  study  it  arduously ;  ex- 
amine and  are  acquainted  with  the  medici- 
nal herbs  and  plants,  that  they  prepare  as 
medicine  for  man  and  beasts.  They  also 
know  the  use  and  worth  of  minerals  as 
medicine,  and  do  a  great  deal  of  good  by 
applying  these  for  healing  the  sick. 

**  Anybody  that  wishes  to  belong  to  the 
Brotherhood  is  not  at  once  admitted,  but 
has  first  to  pass  a  whole  year  of  trial  out- 
side the  same,  and  live  according  to  certain 
rules  and  regulations.  If  he  during  this 
time  has  proved  himself  worthy  through  a 
strictly  moral  and  virtuous  life,  and  tem- 
perance, is  he  provided  with  a  spade,  an 
apron,  and  a  white  garb;  and  now  he  is 
again  subjected  to  new  trials,  and,  having 
passed  through  these,  he  is  sprinkled  with 
water,  or  *  baptized,'  as  a  sign  of  his  spiri- 
tual purity  and  liberation  from  material 

**  Having  thus  proved  his  chastity,  and 
being  further  tried  in  his  strength  of  char- 
acter and  other  qualities,  and  found  to  be 

180  The  Crucifixion 

worthy,  lie  is  at  last  admitted  an  actual 
member  of  the  Brotherhood.  But  before 
he  touches  any  food  in  the  presence  of  the 
Brotherhood,  does  he  take  this  sacred  vow : 
*  Above  all  things  to  fear  God,  of  a  true  and 
pure  heart,  exercise  justice  and  honesty  to 
all  men;  neither  of  impulse  nor  influenced 
by  others,  harm  or  hurt  any  man;  during 
all  his  life  to  shun  injustice,  and  ever  un- 
daunted, further  truth  and  justice.' 

*  *  Further,  he  vows  sacredly  ever  to  obey 
his  worldly  rulers,  as  nobody  has  the  rule 
without  the  will  of  God,  and  if  he  become 
a  ruler,  does  he  vow  not  to  misuse  power, 
and  to  set  an  example  for  his  subjects  by  a 
virtuous  life,  frugality  and  plain  clothing. 
He  shall  always  love  truth  and  shun  false- 
hood, preserve  his  mind  from  any  impure 
thought  or  impulse,  and  never  stain  his 
hands  with  unjust  gain. 

'*For  the  third,  he  vows  never  to  inter- 
pret or  explain  anything  of  the  laws  of  the 
Order  in  any  other  spirit  than  he  himself 
has  received  it  from  the  holy  fathers  and 

Order  of  Essees  181 

faithfully  hide  and  take  care  of  the  books 
and  archives  of  the  Order  and  according 
to  special  regulation  to  keep  secret  the 
name  of  the  angels  with  whom  the  fathers 
formerly  stood  in  communion. 

**This  was  the  vow  that  every  member 
must  take  and  which  they  considered  so 
sacred  that  they  would  rather  suffer  the 
most  violent  death  than  to  break  it.  The 
member  who  broke  his  vow,  or  was  catched 
in  the  act  of  any  crime  or  vice,  or  could 
be  proved  to  have  committed  the  act,  was 
expelled  from  the  Brotherhood,  and  his  fate 
was  to  be  pitied;  for  if  the  Brotherhood 
showed  him  no  mercy,  nor  forgave  and  re- 
ceived him  again,  he  generally  had  to 
starve  to  death,  as  the  one  who  once  had 
offered  himself  up  to  the  service  of  the 
Brotherhood  and  sworn  faithfully  to  sus- 
tain and  obey  its  laws  and  regulations, 
broke  his  vow,  could  not  receive  any  food, 
aid  or  assistance  of  any  one,  but  had  gener- 
ally to  live  in  the  deserts  and  forests  and 
there  in  the  open  air  seek  his  support  of 

182  The  Crucifixion 

herbs,  roots  and  wild  fruit  till  death  put  an 
end  to  his  miserable  life. 

'*But  often  it  happened  that  the  leader 
and  brethren  of  the  Brotherhood  took 
mercy  upon  him  and  again  received  him 
into  their  meetings  in  the  very  moment 
when  this  miserable  was  despairing  and 
near  starvation,  for  they  considered  that  a 
man  who  was  driven  to  despair  and  mortal 
anxiety  was  punished  enough  for  his  crime. 

*^In  their  administration  of  justice  they 
were  indeed  severe,  but  sincere  and  very 
just.  Nobody  could  be  condemned  by  a 
court  of  less  than  one  hundred  persons, 
but  a  verdict  that  a  majority  of  these  ren- 
dered was  unchangeable  in  all  cases. 

**  Besides  Jehovah,  the  Creator  of  all, 
they  all  also  worshipped  highly  their 
*  Lawgiver'  (This  their  Lawgiver  was  not 
Moses,  as  many  have  supposed.  The 
Essees  often  spoke  the  name  of  Moses  in 
their  conversations  with  the  Grentiles,  but 
in  their  law  it  was  strictly  prohibited  to 
speak  the  name  of  their  Lawgiver  to  any 

Order  of  Essees  183 

uninitiated),  and  he  whoever  contemptu- 
ously spoke  his  name  was  punished  with 

^  *  They  had  great  esteem  and  veneration 
for  old  age,  and  even  considered  it  right 
to  agree  to  and  respect  the  opinion  of  the 
majority,  as  many  eyes  always  see  more 
than  two  eyes. 

They  keep  the  Sabbath  more  punctually 
and  conscientiously  than  any  other  Jews, 
and  do  no  labor  on  the  Sabbath,  for  they 
not  only  prepare  and  cook  their  food 
beforehand,  that  they  may  not  be  obliged  to 
make  a  fire  on  the  Sabbath;  but  they  also 
did  not  dare  touch  or  move  from  one  place 
to  another  the  dishes  in  which  was  their 
food  and  drink.  Every  time  they  had  per- 
formed their  natural  wants  they  washed 
themselves,  as  if  they  thereby  had  become 
unclean  or  stained. 

**A11  the  members  of  the  Brotherhood 
are  grouped  in  four  separate  classes.  The 
youngest  brethren  are  considered  so  in- 
ferior in  comparison  with  the  elder,  as  re- 

184  The  Crucifixion 

gards  their  inward  purity,  tliat  the  latter 
again  have  to  wash  themselves  if  they  hap- 
pened to  come  in  contact  with  the  former, 
as  if  they  had  been  stained  by  the  touch 
of  an  unclean  or  uninitiated. 

**  Generally  these  people  grew  very  old, 
and  I  myself  know  several  who  have  ar- 
rived to  an  extraordinary  old  age;  and  I 
presume  this  fact  may  be  accounted  for  by 
their  temperate,  laborious  life,  and  strict 

*  *  Their  courage  and  uncommon  tranquil- 
ity cannot  be  disturbed  by  the  greatest 
calamities,  adversities  or  troubles,  for  they 
can  bear  suffering  and  pains  with  the 
greatest  calmness  and  strength  of  mind, 
and  in  defense  of  anything  good  and  just 
they  gladly  prefer  death  for  life. 

*^  During  the  Eoman  war  they  have  in- 
deed been  subjected  to  great  calamities, 
suffering  and  excruciations.  Many  of  them 
have  been  put  to  the  rack,  and,  living, 
crushed  by  a  wheel,  burnt  alive,  or  boiled 
in  great  kettles,  buried  alive,  crushed  with 

Order  of  Essees  185 

millstones.  Indeed,  all  conceivable  instru- 
ments of  torture  and  suffering  have  been 
invented  and  used  to  make  them  deny  their 
faith,  deride  their  Lawgiver,  or  eat  such 
food  as  was  prohibited  by  their  law;  but 
all  these  efforts  have  been  in  vain.  Un- 
shaken in  their  determination,  they  have 
suffered  these  excruciations  in  silence  and 
with  great  endurance;  and  many  of  them 
have  in  the  very  pain  rebuked  their  enemies 
with  the  sharp  sword  of  the  word  of  truth, 
and  have  then,  to  the  great  amazement  of 
the  bystanders,  in  a  calm  mind  and  joyful 
mien,  given  up  the  spirit  in  the  firm  belief 
to  see  it  again — for  they  have  the  firm  be- 
lief and  faith  that  their  bodies  shall  decay 
and  become  dust,  but  that  the  souls  are 
immortal,  and  shall  live  eternally.*' 

Josephus'  words  are:  '^Opinio  antem 
apud  Essenos  firmata  constitit,  corrupti- 
bilia  guidem  esse  cor  par  a,  animas  antem 
immortales  semper  remanere." 

**They  say  that  during  the  worldly  life 
the  spirit  is  chained  to  the  body  like  a  pris- 

186  The  Crucifixion 

oner  in  his  cell,  but  when  these  chains 
burst,  by  wear  and  decay,  then  the  spirit 
is  freed  from  the  bodily  prison,  and,  al- 
ready tasting  the  heavenly  bliss,  it  soars 
up  to  the  bright  kingdom  of  joy  and  peace. 

** They. agree  with  the  disciples  of  the 
Grecian  philosophers,  that  the  pious 
spirits,  previous  to  their  admission  into  the 
joy  of  heaven,  hover  in  space  over  the 
waters,  without  being  affected  by  rain, 
snow,  cold  or  heat. 

^*They  maintain  that  by  the  doctrine  of 
the  immortality  of  the  soul  men  are  pro- 
moted and  encouraged  to  a  virtuous  life 
and  shun  vice.  Many  of  the  Essees  have 
often  stepped  forth  among  the  people  as 
prophets,  and  informed  of  things  to  hap- 
pen, which  has  been  easier  to  do  for  these 
holy  men,  as  they  from  their  earliest  in- 
fancy study  nature  and  the  doctrine  of 
God;  are  instructed  in  goodly  books  and 
the  writings  of  the  prophets,  and  grow  in 
wisdom  and  purity  of  heart.  Their 
presages   often  came   true,   and  this  in- 

Order  of  Essees  187 

creased  their  esteem  with  the  people  as 
holy  men  and  prophets. 

*  *  There  was  still  another  class  among  the 
Esseens  who,  although  they  corresponded 
with  the  description  of  the  Brotherhood  in 
general,  as  doctrines  of  religion,  laws  and 
ceremonies,  differed  from  them  in  regard 
to  wedlock.  These  latter  consider  that 
everybody  who  does  not  marry  hereby  con- 
tracts the  propagenation  and  destination 
of  mankind,  as  men  would  soon  cease  to 
exist  if  they  lived  by  such  rules. 

*  *  But  ere  the  members  of  this  class  mar- 
ried, they  put  the  one  they  had  chosen  for 
their  wife  on  a  term  of  trial  for  three 
years ;  and  if,  after  this  threefold  trial  and 
cleansing,  the  woman  was  found  to  be 
chaste  and  faithful,  and  capable  of  bearing 
children,  they  married  her.  They  never 
had  sexual  intercourse  with  the  wife  in  her 
pregnancy,  thereby  to  show  they  had  not 
married  from  lust,  but  to  fulfil  the  com- 
mand of  Jehovah,  *Be  fruitful,  increase 
and  fill  the  earth.' 

188  The  Crucifixion 

**Wlien  the  women  bathe  or  wash  them- 
selves they  are  clothed  in  a  linen  garb,  in 
accordance  with  the  men,  who  when  they 
bathe,  wear  an  apron  or  a  belt  around  the 
waist.  In  whatever  they  do  they  exercise 
great  order  and  chastity,  and  rightly  do 
they  deserve  to  be  called  an  example  for 
the  life  of  other  people. ' ' 

Such  is  the  description  that  the  learned 
Josephus  gives  of  this  interesting  Brother- 
hood, their  doctrine,  customs,  ceremonies 
and  lives,  according  to  what  he  himself  has 
found  of  his  own  observances  within  the 
same;  he  having  been  admitted  as  a  real 
member  after  being  tried  for  three  years. 

Another  learned  and  authentic  author  is 
an  old  Jewish  philosopher  called  Philo,  who 
lived  contemporary  with  Jesus,  and  dwelt 
in  Alexandria,  who  has  given  to  posterity 
a  description  of  the  Order  of  the  Essees, 
their  doctrines,  customs  and  ceremonies. 
In  several  of  his  writings  that  have  been 
preserved  to  our  day,  he  speaks  of  this 
Brotherhood,    and   in   his    work,    ^^Quod 

Order  of  Essees  189 

omnis  vis  prohus  liher  sW — Every  truly 
upright  man  is  free. 

He  writes  specially  about  the  theoretical 
Essees,  or  the  so-called  Therapeut  (the 
word  ** Therapeut ''  means  a  physician), 
and  his  description  of  the  Order  corre- 
sponding with  Josephus,  and  thus  we  have 
two  authentic  authors  that  correspond  per- 
fectly in  their  description  of  the  doctrine, 
life,  customs  and  ceremonies  of  this  Order. 

According  to  the  account  of  Philo,  ' '  The 
*Therapeuts'  were  Essees  who,  of  their 
own  free  will,  retired  into  solitude,  and  who 
from  love  of  godliness  and  heavenly  things, 
passed  their  time  in  studying  religion  and 
nature.  They  live  in  several  places  in  Pal- 
estine and  Egypt,  and  in  this  last  country 
their  greatest  congregation  was  in  the 
vicinity  of  the  city  of  Alexandria,  in  a 
lovely  valley  by  the  Sea  of  *  Moria, '  where 
the  air  in  this  country  is  very  mild  and 

**Here  each  one  lived  in  their  respective 
houses,  or  rather  huts,  but  so  close  to  each 

190  The  Crucifixion 

other  that  in  time  of  danger  the  brethren 
could  call  to  each  other  and  hasten  to  mu- 
tual help  and  assistance.'' 

Among  these  Therapeuts  there  were  oth- 
ers who  lived  in  solitude  in  deserts  and 
caverns,  as,  for  example,  Banus,  whom 
Josephus  mentions;  and  to  this  class  be- 
longed most  probably,  John  the  Baptist, 
(Luca  Evang.  1  Chap.  63  v.,  Marc.  1  Chap. 
4,  and  Matt.  3  Chap.,  4  v.),  for  his  habits 
and  mode  of  life  correspond  according  to 
the  gospel  with  those  of  the  Therapeuts. 

Like  the  general  members  of  the  Order 
of  Essees  he  had  disciples,  whom  he 
brought  up  and  instructed,  but  that  the 
New  Testament  does  not  directly  record 
John  as  a  member  of  the  Esseen  Order  nor 
mention  the  same  Order,  this  may  easily 
be  explained  by  the  circumstances  that 
every  member  of  the  Order  had  to  take 
a  sacred  oath  at  their  initiation  never  to 
divulge  any  of  the  secrets  of  the  Order 
to  anybody  that  did  not  belong  to  it  and 
not  to  manifest  himself  a  member  of  the 

Order  of  Essees  191 

Order  in  cases  where  it  was  not  necessary. 

That  our  Lord  and  Master,  Jesus,  took 
John  and  his  disciples  into  his  service,  goes 
to  show  that  he  at  least  prized  the  noble 
efforts  of  the  Esseers  for  truth  and  justice, 
and  that  their  profound  knowledge  in  the 
science  of  nature  and  the  scriptures  of  the 
prophets,  was  known  to  him. 

The  Pharisees  generally  conceived  the 
scriptures  of  the  prophets  liberally,  and 
misunderstood  altogether  the  spiritual 
meaning  thereof,  as  regards  the  coming  of 
Messias.  But  the  Essees  interpreted  and 
conceived  the  scriptures  and  prophecies  of 
the  coming  of  Messias  allegorical,  viewing 
the  divine  secrets  earnestly  and  pro- 

Therefore  Jesus  chose  for  his  firm  and 
faithful  disciples,  the  pious  and  unassum- 
ing Essees,  among  whom  John,  the  son  of 
Zacharias,  was  one  of  the  most  devoted 
and  best  versed  in  the  scriptures,  who 
stepped  forth  to  proclaim  the  coming  of 
Messias  in  Christ.    And  with  the  most  sin- 

192  The  Crucifixion 

cere  love,  greatest  perseverance,  and  firm 
faith,  did  John  seal  and  confirm  this  truth 
through  the  cleansing  by  water,  through 
baptism  (which  with  the  Essees  had  the 
double  significance  of  both  bodily  and 
spiritual  purifying),  and  in  Christendom 
considered  the  first  Sacrament. 

Before  a  Neophite  was  admitted,  or  al- 
lowed to  appear  before  the  Brotherhood, 
having  gone  through  the  first  trials,  he  had 
to  pass  three  days  and  nights  in  a  lonely 
grotto,  in  religious  and  solemn  meditation. 
For  his  sustenance  he  found  frugal  but 
sufiicient  food,  consisting  of  fruits,  bread 
and  water. 

When  this  time  was  passed  he  was 
brought  to  the  Brotherhood  in  the  evening, 
immediately  after  the  setting  of  the  sun, 
where  certain  questions  were  given  him  to 
answer;  and  when  he  had  there  taken  the 
oath  of  initiation,  the  brotherly  kiss  passed 
the  round  of  the  brethren,  whereupon  the 
Neophite  was  dressed  in  the  white  garb, 
as  a  sacred  emblem  of  his  purity  of  soul, 

Order  of  Essees  193 

as  he  now  having  consecrated  himself  to 
Jehovah  in  the  cause  of  truth  and  light. 

The  elder  of  the  Brotherhood  then  in- 
itiated him,  saying:  ** Beloved  son,  you 
are  consecrated  to  Jehovah,  therefore 
choose  your  path  after  his  will;  contend 
ever  undaunted  for  truth  and  virtue;  try 
and  examine  everything  minutely  and  con- 
scientiously, and  having  tried  much,  choose 
the  good  and  useful  in  life,  and  use  it  for 
the  good  of  yourself  and  your  f ellowmen. ' ' 

Then  he  was  given  a  spade  and  an  apron, 
and  one  of  the  elders  of  the  Brotherhood 
spoke  as  follows:  '*The  Brotherhood  is 
henceforth  thy  world,  thy  all,  thy  father 
and  mother,  thy  sister  and  brother;  and 
henceforth  it  is  the  duty  of  the  Brother- 
hood to  care  for  thee,  protect  thee,  and 
guard  thee,  for  hence  thou  art  its  beloved 

Some  of  the  priests  then  read  the  prayer 
of  the  Brotherhood,  and  when  he  had  pro- 
nounced the  last  word,  all  the  breth- 
ren shouted  in  chorus:  **Amen!  Amen! 

194  The  Crucifixion 

The  usual  hymn  of  praise  was  then  sung, 
and  the  brethren  sat  down  to  their  frugal, 
brotherly  meal,  or  feast  of  love,  but  still 
the  Neophite  was  not  allowed  to  sit  by  the 
brethren's  table,  but  had  to  take  his  place 
by  a  special  table  in  the  presence  of  the 

Now  again  came  a  trial  of  twelve  months, 
and  when  all  the  years  of  trials,  three  full 
years,  were  ended,  the  Neophite  was  con- 
sidered an  actual  member  of  the  Brother- 
hood, and  then  he  was  initiated  and  grad- 
ually instructed  in  the  doctrines  and 
secrets  of  the  Order. 

The  Jews  in  general  called  this  Brother- 
hood,'* The  Holy  Brotherhood  of  the  Chosen 
Ones,''  or  **Hasidees,"  that  is,  the  pious, 
or  the  *' Children  of  Peace,"  of  whom 
Jesus  speaks  on  several  occasions.  In 
Luke,  10  Chap.  5  v.,  when  he  says :  **  Wlien 
ye  come  into  a  house  say  first,  'Peace  be 
to  this  house.'  And  if  the  son  of  peace 
be  there,  your  peace  shall  rest  upon  it;  if 
not,  it  shall  turn  to  you  again." 

Order  of  Essees  195 

Likewise  Nathaniel  says  to  Jesus: 
'*  Whence  knowest  thou  meT'  Jesus  ans- 
wered and  said  unto  him,  **  Before  that 
Philip  called  thee,  when  thou  wast  under 
the  fig  tree,  I  saw  thee."  Evang.  John,  1 
Chap.,  48  v.,  and  also  do  we  refer  to  the 
conversation  with  Nicodemus,  John,  3 

The  brethren  had  their  special  signs, 
and  thereby  recognized  each  other  when 
they  met.  These  signs  were:  A  certain 
movement  of  the  right  hand,  a  grip,  the 
brotherly  kiss,  and  the  word  of  salutations 
— ** Peace  be  with  you  my  brethren'';  and 
it  is  significant  that  Jesus,  on  occasions 
where  he  suddenly  or  unannounced  stepped 
forth  among  his  disciples,  always  saluted 
them  with  the  words:  ** Peace  be  with 
you.''  Luke,  24  Chap.,  36  v.;  Matt.  20 
Chap.,  19-26  v. 

The  Essees  represented  their  doctrines 
to  the  younger  members  and  brethren  in 
parables  or  allegorical  form,  thereby  to 
form  and  exercise  the  mind  and  sharpen 

196  The  Crucifixion 

the  thoughts,  that  they  might  gradually 
get  used  to  interpret  the  glorious  doctrines 
and  truths  that  were  hidden  under  the 

Josephus  says  therefore,  ^^ Maxima  enim 
'philosophic  pars  apud  Essenos,  prised  ritu 
per  Allegorias  traditur'';  and  we  know 
that  the  Master,  Jesus,  often  made  use  of 
the  allegorical  representation  and  parables, 
when  he  would  impress  some  moral  com- 
mandment or  high  idea  in  the  hearts  of  his 
disciples  or  the  people,  or  some  sacred 
doctrine  of  his  divine  truths. 

The  moral  commandments  of  the  Essees 
appear  otherwise  to  be  very  much  similar 
to  those  which  the  ancient  philosophers  and 
wise  men  teached,  but  still  more  similar 
are  they  to  the  doctrines  that  Jesus 

In  my  little  work  '^ Palestine  in  the  time 
of  Jesus'^  I  have,  page  88,  showed  this  by 
several  examples. 

Yes,  the  very  fundamental  command- 
ments of  the  moral  law  of  the  Essees  con- 

Order  of  Essees  197 

sists  of  the  same  words  that  are  quoted 
in  Luc,  10  Chap.,  where  it  says:  **And 
behold  a  certain  lawyer  stood  up  and 
tempted  him  saying,  *  Master  what  shall  I 
do  to  inherit  eternal  lifeT  '' 

He  said  unto  him,  **What  is  written  in 
the  law?    How  readest  thou?" 

And  he  answering  said,  *'Thou  shalt  love 
the  Lord  thy  God  with  all  thy  heart  and 
with  all  thy  soul  and  with  all  thy  strength 
and  with  all  thy  mind,  and  thy  neighbor 
as  thyself/' 

And  Jesus  said  unto  him:  ^^Thou  hast 
answered  right.  This  do  and  thou  shalt 

Everybody  that  entered  into  the  Broth- 
erhood took  the  solemn  vow,  *  ^  To  love  God 
above  all,  and  exercise  love  and  justice  to 
all  men." 

The  places  within  the  borders  of  Pales- 
tine where  most  of  the  Essees  lived  and 
had  their  meetings  in  the  time  of  John  the 
Baptist  and  Jesus,  were  the  country  round 
Nazareth,  the  valley  Achor  near  Betha- 

198  The  Crucifixion 

bara,  the  country  round  the  castle  of  Mas- 
seda,  the  desert  at  Ephraim,  the  moun- 
tainous country  at  Igutha,  not  far  from 
Hebron,  the  town  Bethania  by  Jerusalem, 
the  valley  at  Thabor  and  the  country  sur- 
rounding the  stronghold  Macherous,  where 
John  afterwards  was  a  captive  and  where 
he  by  the  command  of  Herod  was  beheaded. 

Such  was  this  remarkable  Brotherhood, 
within  whose  sacred  association  the  true 
God  was  worshipped  and  the  doctrine  of 
true  religion  preserved  in  purity,  truth 
and  spirit,  in  many  centuries. 

For  this,  their  pure,  unsophisticated 
worship,  this  Brotherhood  was  renowned, 
before,  by,  and  after  the  time  of  Jesus; 
and  useful,  indeed,  did  their  firm  faith  in 
God  prove;  for  soon  after  the  departure 
of  the  Master  came  the  times  when  they 
were  tempted,  and  when  it  was  of  need  to 
be  firm  in  their  faith. 

After  Jesus'  departure  was  the  Broth- 
erhood subjected  to  the  most  severe 
temptations,  the  greatest  trials  and  perse- 

Order  of  Essees  199 

cutions.  The  Romans  spread  war  and 
desolation  over  the  unlucky  land  of  the 
Jews,  and  with  the  horrors  of  the  war 
followed  thousands  of  miseries.  But  none 
were  more  persecuted  than  the  pious 

The  Roman  chiefs  and  soldiers  invented 
all  conceivable  kinds  of  tortures  and  ex- 
cruciations, to  make  them  mock  and  deny 
God,  but  by  none  of  all  their  barbaric 
means  did  they  succeed  in  shaking  the 
perseverance  and  firm  faith  of  these  pious 

In  the  first  fury  of  the  war,  many  of  the 
Esseens  who  lived  in  the  cities,  had  fled  to 
their  brethren  in  the  desert  and  the  moun- 
tains, and  here  hidden,  could  they  in  peace 
and  brotherly  love,  exercise  their  worship 
of  God,  according  to  the  teachings  of  the 
Master,  unharmed,  in  its  purity  and  truth. 

But  soon  their  places  of  refuge  were 
discovered  and  traced  by  their  enemies, 
when  they  were  driven  out  of  their  places 
of  concealment,   and  most   of  them   fell 

200  The  Crucifixion 

bloody  victims  to  the  fury  and  rage  of  the 
Eoman  soldiers. 

With  the  greatest  calmness,  without 
complaint  or  murmur,  they  suffered  the 
lengthened  pains  of  death,  and  sealed  the 
Master's  teachings  with  their  blood. 

But  there  were  still  many  who,  in  spite 
of  the  inventive  means  used  hj  the  Eomans 
to  trace  their  ambuscades,  remained  undis- 
covered, and  thus  were  saved  from  a  suf- 
fering death,  and  these  are  just  the  fathers 
of  the  Brotherhood,  who  have  preserved  in 
its  purity  their  doctrines,  secrets,  and  the 
knowledge  that  they  themselves  inherited 
from  wise  fathers,  and  handed  down  to 
their  posterity,  and  these  their  doctrines 
give  the  truest  and  greatest  manifestation 
of  the  greatness,  wisdom  and  power  of 
God,  and  his  inscrutable  love  to  all  men. 



By  Nicolas  Notovitch 
Volume  lY.     Supplemental  Harmonic  Series 

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By  TK 
Volume  11.     The  Harmonic  Series 

This  book,  with  its  fund  of  interesting  and  important 
scientific  data  and  helpful  knowledge,  was  written  by  the 
American  Representative  of  that  **venerable  school 
of  wisdom*  whose  records  are  the  most  ancient  at 
this  time  known  to  men,  and  which,  for  many  thousands 
of  years,  has  influenced  the  civilization  and  work  of  every 
great  nation  of  Earth. 

Its  members  have  toiled  for  the  advancement  of  the 
human  race  from  ignorance  to  knowledge,  from  darkness 
to  light,  throughout  the  ages  past. 

The  author's  analysis  of  Hypnotism  and  Mediumship 
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most  relentless  logic  and  unanswerable  facts,  which  no 
one  has  challenged,  he  proves  that  subjective  Spiritual 
"Mediumship"  is  vitally  destructive  to  the  physical  body 
and  the  human  soul. 

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By  Louis  Jacolliot 
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The  underlying  purpose  of  this  work,  which  we  may 
truthfully  call  great  is  at  once  a  protest  against  religious 
despotism  and  a  plea  for  freedom  and  common  sense  in 
religious  thought.  The  book  traces  back  to  India  at 
the  Religions,  Philosophies  and  Sciences  of  the  world, 
and  shows  that  in  ancient  India  we  have  the  source  of  all 
civilizations.  In  the  author's  preface  he  says,  "To 
religious  despotism,  imposing  speculative  delusions,  and 
class-legislation  may  be  attributed  the  decay  of  nations." 

Spain  is  in  the  midst  of  her  revolution  against  wax 
candles  and  holy  water.  Italy  has  not  yet  perfected  the 
consolidation  of  her  unity. 

Rome  is  preparing  to  denounce  all  conquests  of  modern 
intelligence,  freedom  of  thought,  liberty  of  conscience, 
civil  independence,  etc.  Excommunication  attempts  to 
revivify  its  impotent  thunders,  and  once  more  to  bind 
emperors,  kings  and  people  to  its  yoke. 

Poland  exists  no  more;  the  muscovite  sword  has 
realized  the  prediction  of  dying  Kosciusco. 

The  Czar  of  Russia  is  Pope. 

And  yet — enter  temple,  church,  or  mosque — every- 
where is  intolerant  persecution  placed  under  the  Aegis 
of  God.  It  is  no  longer  Mediaeval  fanaticism,  for  faith 
is  dead;  it  is  hypocrisy  that  rummages  the  arsenals  of  the 
past  for  arms,  that  they  still  have  power  to  terrify  the 
people  once  more  until  they  grovel  on  bended  knees 
in  the  dust  of  credulity  and  darkness. 

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parts  of  India,  studied  the  language  and  dialects  of  the 
people,  noted  their  method  of  living  and  thereby  tracing 
the  source  of  all  religions  to  the  parent  stem,  India. 

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This  book  is  also  from  the  pen  of  the  author  of  "/i&e 
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and  elucidation  of  the  fundamental  principle  and  working 
formulary  of  the  Great  School  of  Natural  Science,  which 
principle  and  formulary  are  known  to  the  "Masters  of 
the  Law"  and  their  students  and  friends  as  the  ^^con- 
fittuctive  principle  of  nature  in  individual  life,^ 

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have  dashed  in  vain,  because  its  foundation  is  the  rock 
of  TRUTH. 

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Reason  and  Conscience,  and  is  an  inspiration  to  "//ve  the 
life  and  know  the  law,**  Every  student  realizes  that,  if  he 
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/   .  .The  Great  Psychological  Crime. Cloth 2.00 

*.The  Great  Psychological  Crime. Flexible  Morocco  3.50 

'     .  .The  Great  Work Cloth 2.00 

*  .The  Great  Work Flexible  Morocco  3.50 

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. .  The  Genius  of  Freemasonry . . .  .Cloth 1 .00 

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.  .The  Unknown  Li feofjesus  Christ  Cloth 1.00 

/  .  .Mystic  Masonry Cloth 1 .00 

.  .The  Reality  of  Matter Cloth 1 .00 

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.  .The  Bible  in  India Cloth 2.00 

.  .A  Study  of  Man Cloth 1.50 

-    .  .  The  Dream  Child— Gift  Edition.Cloth 1 .00 

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.  .  Who  Answers  Prayer? Cloth 50 

o..  .The  Lost  Word  Found Cloth 50 

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.  .  Vols.  1  -2-3-4-5  Life  and  Action,  each 1 .00 

. .  Vols.  1  -2-3-4-5,  and  two  years,  Sub.  to  L-A 5.75 

/   .  .BRIDGING  THE  GREAT  DIVIDE  (New)  Cloth    1.00 

.  .Zanoni  and  Zicci — Special  Edition LOO 

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.  .The  New  Avatar Cloth 2.00 

.  .The  Soul  and  Sex  in  Education  .Cloth 1.25 


.  .FACIKG  THE  20fh  CENTURY Cloth 2.00 


. .  The  Great  Pyramid  Jeezeh ....  Cloth 

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